The Homeland Security secretary’s remarks about designating election systems as critical infrastructure earned support from the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“Designating election systems as critical infrastructure could improve and expand our nation’s ability to prevent and to respond to potential cyberattacks originating both from inside or outside our borders,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “As such, I commend your efforts to carefully consider this issue and urge you to make this determination as quickly as is feasible.”
Until that time, Carper urged DHS to share cybersecurity best practices with state and local election officials and to coordinate with other relevant agencies such as National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Election Assistance Commission.
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How secure election technology is “has been a concern for some time,” Carper wrote. In addition to recent reports of Russian intelligence groups hacking the Democratic National Committee, Carper listed older problems like voting machines that allowed vote counts to be changed and others that were susceptible to physical and wireless intrusion without detection.
“Election security is critical, and a cyberattack by foreign actors on our election systems could compromise the integrity of our voting process,” he wrote. “The American public should have confidence in our current election systems and the efforts of state and local governments to make the risk of voter fraud and a successful cyberattack remote.”