Officials from a dozen states and the federal government took preliminary steps this week toward more formal cooperation regarding election-security efforts at a two-day meeting near Albany, N.Y.
Attendees at the meeting Tuesday and Wednesday discussed coordinating information-sharing about potential cyberthreats among the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the Department of Homeland Security and state and local election offices. The meeting followed months of sometimes contentious back-and-forth between federal and state officials. State election officials of both political parties have criticized the Department of Homeland Security’s decision in January to formally designate election systems “critical infrastructure.”
Federal officials said the designation will help DHS place a higher priority on election-security efforts, amid reports of potential hacking attempts against election computer systems during the 2016 general election. But many state officials said they are worried about whether the sharing of sensitive cybersecurity information could occur in a two-way manner.
Jim Condos, Vermont’s secretary of state and a Democrat, attended the meeting and said it facilitated “baby steps” toward cooperation in safeguarding the election process.