National News

National: Homeland Security, private sector launch election security group | The Hill

December 18, 2017

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Election Assistance Commission and a bevy of voting equipment industry and nonprofit groups met to launch an election security Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) on Thursday. The meeting further solidifies their decision last year to treat elections as critical infrastructure. The SCC will represent the private sector as Homeland Security deliberates strategies and policies to protect critical infrastructure.

National: What are voting machine companies doing about cyber? | FCW

November 22, 2017

In October 2017, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent letters to five of the top voting machine companies in America asking how their organizations were structured and what steps they have taken to ensure their machines are protected from cyber threats. “As our election systems have come under unprecedented scrutiny, public faith in the security of our electoral process at every level is more important than ever before,” Wyden said.

National: Bipartisan Harvard Panel Recommends Hacking Safeguards for Elections | Associated Press

November 20, 2017

A bipartisan Harvard University project aimed at protecting elections from hacking and propaganda will release its first set of recommendations today on how U.S. elections can be defended from hacking attacks. The 27-page guidebook shown to Reuters ahead of publication calls for campaign leaders to emphasize security from the start and insist on practices such as two-factor authentication for access to email and documents and fully encrypted messaging via services including Signal and Wickr.

National: Experts: States need help to protect voting machines from Russians | USA Today

November 30, 2017

Congress needs to boost funding to states to help them buy secure voting machines to prevent Russia and other hostile nations from hacking U.S. elections, election experts told a House panel Wednesday. “This is a critical need, and must be addressed immediately (to have an impact on the 2018 election),” said Edgardo Cortés, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, which held statewide elections earlier this month.

National: Senators release new election cybersecurity bill | The Hill

November 1, 2017

Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a multifaceted election cybersecurity bill Tuesday, including a bug bounty program for systems manufacturers and a grant program for states to upgrade technology. “While the Intelligence Committee’s investigation is still ongoing, one thing is clear: The Russians were very active in trying to influence the 2016 election and will continue their efforts to undermine public confidence in democracies,” said Collins in a statement celebrating the bill.

National: Wary of Hackers, States Move to Upgrade Voting Systems | The New York Times

October 13, 2017

State election officials, worried about the integrity of their voting systems, are pressing to make them more secure ahead of next year’s midterm elections. Reacting in large part to Russian efforts to hack the presidential election last year, a growing number of states are upgrading electoral databases and voting machines, and even adding cybersecurity experts to their election teams.

Verified Voting Blog: Yes, Voting Machines Can Be Hacked – Now the Hard Work Begins

October 13, 2017

DEFCON Report on Machine Vulnerabilities Critical First Step in Raising Awareness, But to Secure Election Systems, States Must Adopt Paper Ballots

National: Are Americans Beginning to Care About Election Integrity? | WhoWhatWhy

October 13, 2017

Nearly a year after the 2016 presidential election, many Americans have been forced, some for the very first time, to look critically at their voting protections, and recognize that US balloting systems are not nearly as impregnable as they once thought. Clearly, the US intelligence reports about Russia hacks provided a long-overdue wake up call for this issue. The good news: some progress has been made in some jurisdictions in the last year. The bad news: that progress hasn’t been as widespread or comprehensive as the problem would seem to demand.

National: DHS and top election officials finally meet to begin hashing out ‘critical infrastructure’ designation | Washington Examiner

October 16, 2017

Top election officials from around the country met this weekend to create the formal organization to hash out what powers and lines of communications the Department of Homeland Security should have after the department designated voting systems in the states and territories as “critical infrastructure” earlier this year. By voting to adopt a charter for a “Government Coordinating Council,” the secretaries of state now have a group that has an official channel and a single “voice” to communicate with DHS.

National: Paper ballots are back in vogue thanks to Russian hacking fears | USA Today

September 21, 2017

Once about as newsworthy as water meters, the voting machines and computers used to record and tally the nation’s ballots are suddenly a hot button issue due to mounting evidence Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. According to the FBI, as many as 39 states had their election systems scanned or targeted by Russia. There’s no evidence of votes changed. But given the stakes, some state agencies that run elections are trying to curb any further interference prior to mid-term elections in November.

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