Blog: Election Security

While many agencies need help with issues related to the pandemic, one issue remains front-and-center for governments. That is Election Security.  November, 2020 is rapidly approaching.

Back in August 2017 the Center for American Progress released “9 Solutions for Securing America’s Elections” in which they documented nine vulnerabilities in election infrastructure, with solutions to help improve election security for the 2018 and 2020 elections. 

From their website: This report builds on that analysis to provide an overview of election security and preparedness in each state, looking specifically at state requirements and practices related to:

  1. Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems
  2. Voter-verified paper ballots
  3. Post-election audits that test election results
  4. Ballot accounting and reconciliation
  5. Return of voted paper absentee ballots
  6. Voting machine certification requirements
  7. Pre-election logic and accuracy testing

This report provides an overview of state compliance with baseline standards to protect their elections from hacking and machine malfunction. Some experts may contend that additional standards, beyond those mentioned here, should be required of states to improve election security. The chief purpose of this report is to provide information on how states are faring in meeting even the minimum standards necessary to help secure their elections.

States are creating their own guidelines for their county and municipal agencies. This is a link to the plan Texas created in January 2020. It addresses physical, cyber, identity/authentication, vendor management, manual process, wireless network, etc., security best protocols and best practices.

Vendors with solutions to assist agencies with Election Security are doing their best to showcase their solutions to Election officials nationwide. With no tradeshows and very limited travel options, they have been reaching out to CJIS GROUP to help them build audiences for webinars or to syndicate content to our agency contacts.

Election Administration at the State Level (from the National Conference of State Legislatures website- link in title)

Each state has a chief election official who has ultimate authority over elections in the state.

  • 24 states have an elected secretary of state as the chief election official—Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. 
  • Two statesAlaska and Utah—have an elected lieutenant governor as the chief election official.
  • Three statesMaine, New Hampshire and Tennessee—have a chief election official selected by the legislature. 
  • Five statesDelaware, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas—have a chief election official appointed by the governor. In all but Delaware, the chief election official is called the secretary of state; in Delaware the position is Commissioner of Elections.
  • Nine statesHawaii, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin—have a board or a commission that oversees elections. Appointments to these commissions are usually made by the governor, and confirmed by the Senate. They are most often structured so as to be bipartisan, with a certain number of members from each of the major political parties.
  • Seven statesArkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Rhode Island and West Virginia—use a combination of a chief election official and a board or commission.

Helpful Links:

It should also be mentioned that the US Election Assistance Commission has created Election Management Guidelines and Quick Start Guides to assist State and Local Election Officials in effectively managing and administering elections. Those guidelines are here: https://www.eac.gov/election_management_resources/election_management_guidelines.aspx

Hopefully the COVID-19 outbreak will soon be a bad memory but, at some point soon, we will have elections and agencies need to be ready. Hoping this research and these contact links are helpful as vendors try to make connections remotely.

 

Click here to get a listing of state and local election officials.

April 20, 2020 - 11:16am
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