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Congressional hearing highlights role of local governments in election cybersecurity ahead of 2018 elections

Fairfax County, Va. election officials review procedures to prepare electronic machines for voters. Photo courtesy of Fairfax County.

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee targets state and local measures to protect voting systems 

On Nov. 29, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform conducted a hearing on the current state of cybersecurity and the nation’s voting machines. The session focused on identifying actions that Congress, the Administration, and state and local governments can take to ensure voting systems are secure ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

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U.S. Election Assistance Commission

Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center

The cybersecurity of the nation’s elections infrastructure has become an increasingly pressing issue for state and local officials. In September 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified 21 states of Russian government hackers’ attempts to interfere with state election systems during the 2016 election. Shortly thereafter, the agency announced the creation of an election security task force to enhance coordination between federal, state and local election officials.

During the hearing, Christopher Krebs, who serves as the under secretary for the national protection and programs directorate at DHS, testified and highlighted the importance of coordinating efforts between federal, state and local election officials in combatting malicious cybersecurity threats and ensuring the integrity of election systems. Krebs also highlighted DHS’s partnership with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), which DHS has charged  with working closely with state, local, territory and tribal governments on mitigating and responding to cybersecurity threats, and their ability to perform comprehensive reviews of locally owned systems to identify cyber vulnerabilities.

NACo is committed to working with lawmakers to ensure that counties have access to resources to mitigate cybersecurity threats ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. We will continue to engage DHS, and the MS-ISAC to raise awareness of current resources provided by the federal government to help bolster our cybersecurity.

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