Protecting Election Integrity Through Cybersecurity
As with any electronic systems, election systems can be subject to unauthorized access and tampering by bad actors. Election officials must and do take steps to protect the security of all election systems.
Before the 2016 election, one state’s voter registration system was hacked but no records were changed and some election official access credentials were obtained in Arizona and at the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), but likewise, no records were changed. Attempts to access other systems, many of which were “scans” to assess system security that systems deflect on a daily basis, have been inflated in the media and by liberal activists to justify further federal intervention in election administration.
In response to the alleged “hacking” of the 2016 election by Russian agents, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated elections as critical infrastructure in January 2017 and Congress has considered many pieces of legislation regarding cybersecurity in elections.
Initially, DHS was reluctant to work with election officials or understand election administration systems, but through the persistence of the EAC and state election officials around the country, DHS is finally beginning to make efforts to understand election administration, share cybersecurity information, and actually assist election officials. Likewise, members of Congress have begun to take the concerns of election officials over the federalization of elections seriously and recognized that the states have the expertise to best protect their election systems from unauthorized access and tampering.