CISA Election Security Chief Says Agency Will Work With ‘Anyone Who Gets Elected’

Written by Benjamin Freed

As concerns about insider threats to the election persist, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s top election security adviser said Thursday the agency is ready to deal with state and local election officials who have teamed up with theories. conspiracy over voting materials and previous election results. .

“We’re going to work with the chosen one,” Kim Wyman told StateScoop during an interview at the Billington Cyber ​​Summit in Washington, D.C. “If somebody gets through an election, their voters think they’re the best candidate. .”

Kim Wyman (Washington State)

A number of candidates across the country for county clerk and secretary of state positions have openly built their campaigns around denial of the 2020 presidential election, threatening not to certify future results and pushing allegations. unfounded regarding vote recording and tabulation devices. But if they win in November, those candidates will find themselves in charge of their state or county’s election administration, voter registration databases and election-related technology.

As a federal agency, CISA must be “agnostic” about voter choice, said Wyman, a Republican and former secretary of state in Washington. “That said, we put a lot of emphasis on insider threats.”

Wyman said CISA encourages officials to review their policies and procedures to reduce the risk that someone with access to election systems will violate or damage them. Some of those steps, she said, include creating dual-control environments — where it takes two people to gain authorized access to a location or system — and giving people the “level of lowest access” to do their job.

“Quite frankly, people who are chief electoral officers probably don’t need to have access to tabulation equipment,” she said.

Some Democratic and Republican secretaries of state have taken steps in recent months to limit physical access to voting materials and to impose stricter cybersecurity procedures on local election commissions and election technology providers. Colorado also passed a law strengthening criminal penalties for tampering with election officials, a move inspired by Tina Peters, a county clerk who has been charged with felonies for her alleged role in copying and sharing sensitive election data to the service. conspiracy theories about the 2020 vote.

“A myriad of insider threats can include election candidates trying to make a statement,” Wyman said Thursday. “Some of the activities you talk about are crimes. There are penalties and some of them are criminal penalties.

Wyman also said she encourages election officials to engage more with their state and local police, to address both insider threats and the growing rate of threats of physical violence against election officials and agents. electoral.

“It’s another layer of partnerships,” she said. “The idea behind this is to connect local and federal law enforcement with election officials to think through what the threats might be this fall.”

Wyman is also a board member of a nonprofit created earlier this summer to connect election administrators with law enforcement.

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