Who Oversees the Elections Process in the U.S.?
THE ROLE OF CHIEF STATE ELECTION OFFICIALS:
Forty members of the National Assocation of Secretaries of State (NASS) serve as their state's designated chief election official, overseeing the conduct of elections according to law. Ensuring the integrity of the voting process is central to this role, which includes cyber preparedness and contingency planning, as well as administrative and technical support for local election officials.
Learn More About the NASS Election Security Task Force
Governors and state CIOs/CISOs also play a part in election security, particularly where state emergency management or incident response planning is involved, and state legislators make policy and budget decisions that affect election office policies, staffing and resources.
- Securing Future Elections Against Cyber Threats (July 2017)
- Facts and Findings on Cybersecurity and Foreign Targeting of the 2016 U.S. Elections (March 2017)
Elections as Critical Infrastructure: What Does It Mean?
On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established a new role for the federal government in securing elections by designating election infrastructure as critical infrastructure. | DHS Overview of Critical Infrastructure
STATES OPPOSE THE DESIGNATION:
While NASS members recognize the need to share information on threats and risk mitigation in our elections at all levels of government, Secretaries of State oppose the critical infrastructure designation based on the federal government's continued lack of transparency and clarity with chief state election officials on plans for implementing the designation.
- Hon. Jim Condos' Testimony at U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing on Election Security (March 2018)
- Hon. Tom Schedler's Testimony at Joint Hearing on Cybersecurity of Voting Machines (November 2017)
- DHS State Notifications and State Public Statements (September 2017)
- NASS Letter to Congressional Task Force on Election Security (August 2017)
- NASS Letter Urgent Items DHS Sec Kelly (July 2017)
- NASS Resolution Reaffirming Commitment to Strengthening Elections (July 2017)
- NASS Report on State Laws & Practices for the Emergency Management of Elections (April 2017)
- NASS Resolution Opposing the Designation of Elections as Critical Infrastructure (February 2017)
- NASS Statement on Critical Infrastructure Designation for Elections (January 2017)
- U.S. Election Assistance Critical Infrastructure Information
- National Conference of State Legislatures 2017 Cybersecurity Legislation Tracker
- Congressional Leadership Letter (September 2016)
How Can We Safeguard Our Elections from Cyberattacks and Systemic Fraud?
As our nation's leaders repeatedly emphasized during the November 2016 presidential election cycle, state and local autonomy over elections is our greatest asset against malicious cyber attacks and systemic fraud. Our highly-decentralized, low-connectivity voting process has many built-in checks and balances to safeguard its structural integrity. Given the complexity of the process, election officials have unique insights on cybersecurity and elections.
RELATED: NASS Letter to Congress: Proactive Election Cybersecurity Initiatives by Secretaries of State (October 2017)
Open Letter to Congress from the Nation's Secretaries of State: Let's Work Together to Share the Facts About Cybersecurity and Our Elections (September 2016)
Related Federal Alerts/Announcements
- Statement by U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Christy McCormick on DHS Critical Infrastructure Designation
- Statement by Secretary Johnson on the Designation of Election Infrastructure as a Critical Infrastructure Subsector
- White House Fact Sheet: Actions in Response to Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and Harassment
- Joint DHS, ODNI, FBI Statement on Russian Malicious Cyber Activity
- Update by Secretary Johnson on DHS Election Cybersecurity Services
- Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security
- Statement by Sec. Johnson About Election Systems' Cybersecurity
- Statement by Sec. Johnson Concerning the Cybersecurity of the Nation's Election Systems
- EAC Participates on Election Security Call
- Readout of Sec. Johnson's Call with State Election Officials on Cybersecurity
- EAC Statement on Election Preparedness