National: New administration will uphold election system’s designation as critical infrastructure | Reuters

February 8, 2017

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Tuesday said he backed a decision in the Obama administration’s final days to designate elections systems as critical infrastructure in order to boost their cyber defenses, after the government concluded Russian hackers tried to influence the 2016 presidential race. Some conservative states, such as Georgia, had expressed concerns that the Obama administration move amounted to a federal takeover of elections traditionally run by state and local governments. The designation means voting machines, voter registration systems, polling places and other assets important to holding elections are eligible for priority cyber-security assistance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “I believe we should help all of the states … to make sure that their systems are protected in future elections,” Kelly told the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security in response to a question from Democratic U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond. “I would argue that, yes, we should keep that in place.”

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