Release Date: 
August 15, 2016

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010

Readout of Secretary Johnson's Call with State Election Officials on Cybersecurity

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson hosted a phone call with members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and other Chief Election Officials to discuss the cybersecurity of the election infrastructure. It is critically important to continue to work to ensure the security and resilience of our electoral infrastructure, particularly as the risk environment evolves. Representatives from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the Department of Commerce's National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) also participated in the call.

During today's call, Secretary Johnson offered assistance in helping state officials manage risks to voting systems in each state's jurisdiction. While DHS is not aware of any specific or credible cybersecurity threats relating to the upcoming general election systems, Secretary Johnson reiterated that DHS, the Election Assistance Commission, NIST, and DOJ are available to offer support and assistance in protecting against cyber attacks. He also recognized the important work already being done in the states to ensure the integrity and security of the nation's elections. Secretary Johnson further emphasized that DHS is exploring all ways to deliver more support to the sector in a collaborative and non-prescriptive manner, and would be examining whether designating certain electoral systems as critical infrastructure would be an effective way to offer this support.

As part of the ongoing effort, the Secretary also announced that DHS is convening a Voting Infrastructure Cybersecurity Action Campaign with experts from all levels of government and the private sector to raise awareness of cybersecurity risks potentially affecting voting infrastructure and promote the security and resilience of the electoral process. Representatives of the National Association of Secretaries of State were invited to join this group to provide their expertise and input.

Secretary Johnson encouraged state officials to focus on implementing existing recommendations from NIST and the EAC on securing election infrastructure, such as ensuring that electronic voting machines are not connected to the internet while voting is taking place.

Secretary Johnson offered the assistance of the Department's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to conduct vulnerability scans, provide actionable information, and access to other tools and resources for improving cybersecurity.

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Press Release from US. Election Assistance Commission
For Immediate Release
August 15, 2016
Contact: Bryan Whitener

EAC Participates on Election Security Call

SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, the Election Assistance Commission participated in a call with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Association Secretaries of State (NASS), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss the security of the election process.

EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks discussed that election administrators have been planning for all possible contingencies for this year’s election. He explained that the EAC has developed, and continues to develop, numerous resources on contingency planning, voter registration database security, chain of custody procedure, post-election auditing and assistance with voting system technology and security, in conjunction with a series of events related to the #BeReady16 initiative.

Chairman Hicks stressed that with the Presidential Election Day less than 85 days away, voters in some states will begin casting advance ballots in less than six weeks. The deadline for military and overseas ballots to be delivered is Sept. 24.

While attention has focused on election security, and should continue, the EAC stressed to the executive agencies and other stakeholders on the call that any declarations made now regarding election security could hurt the process more than it helps.

The EAC has worked to communicate, and will continue to help communicate, any credible and specific threats, mitigations, recommendations, and effective practices to state and local officials. If the DHS, FBI or other Executive Branch agency has any such information, the EAC stands at the ready to share it and see that the states and election administrators are aware and prepared, according to Hicks.

Chairman Hicks added that the Secretaries of State and state and local election officials are doing everything in their power to be prepared for possible security threats and that they take that responsibility extremely seriously. He added that, any decision by executive agencies regarding election infrastructure should not be considered without the full participation and support of the secretaries and local officials who administer elections.

Chairman Hicks stressed that all on the call shared the same goal—a fair and honest election with the greatest possible level of voter confidence in the process. EAC encourages voters to get involved with their state and local election officials, and ask questions about their election process. The vast majority of election offices offer numerous opportunities for voters to engage in the process, including witnessing pre-election testing of the voting systems. Election officials welcome voters’ questions and participation because they want voters to have confidence and to participate in the process.

EAC encourages voters to work at the polls as election workers. The election process benefits from full engagement from all, and election administrators across the country are seeking election workers now for November. There is no better way to see the election process that from inside as an active participate, Chairman Hicks concluded.