Will good help be available from Homeland Security, and will Connecticut ask for it?

The Department of Homeland Security has designated Election Infrastructure as Critical Infrastructure: <read>

By “election infrastructure,” we mean storage facilities, polling places, and centralized vote tabulations locations used to support the election process, and information and communications technology to include voter registration databases, voting machines, and other systems to manage the election process and report and display results on behalf of state and local governments…

Prior to reaching this determination, my staff and I consulted many state and local election officials; I am aware that many of them are opposed to this designation.  It is important to stress what this designation does and does not mean.  This designation does not mean a federal takeover, regulation, oversight or intrusion concerning elections in this country.  This designation does nothing to change the role state and local governments have in administering and running elections.

The designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure subsector does mean that election infrastructure becomes a priority within the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. It also enables this Department to prioritize our cybersecurity assistance to state and local election officials, but only for those who request it.  Further, the designation makes clear both domestically and internationally that election infrastructure enjoys all the benefits and protections of critical infrastructure that the U.S. government has to offer. Finally, a designation makes it easier for the federal government to have full and frank discussions with key stakeholders regarding sensitive vulnerability information.

We ask four questions:

  • Will the program continue in the Trump Administration? Many Republicans are skeptical of any Federal program and currently doubting foreign interference in our elections,
  • Will the program actually be meaningful? It could fail by being a whitewash or by being to critical.
  • Will Connecticut Municipalities and the Secretary of the State ask for reviews?
  • Will we ever know?  Its results might be withheld from the public for reasons of security?

We would like to see such evaluation(s), statewide and locally:

  • An evaluation statewide of our election programming, memory card protocols, tabulator protocols, voter registration database, vote totalling, post-election audits, and recanvass procedures – not just the laws and procedures, but also their actual implementation.
  • An evaluation municipality by municipality of ballot and tabulator security.

We emphasize thesee’ as secret evaluations would do little to provide the public assurance, and likely as not, would be available one way or another to those bent on using them to exploit weaknesses in the system.

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