Devastating for an agency that’s had such promise, from Jessica Huseman:
One of the EAC’s commissioners has dismissed the threat of foreign governments undermining American elections in private meetings with state election officials, and often personally appealed to individual officials not to waste their time on the idea that election systems might be vulnerable to outside meddling.
The election officials assert that the EAC’s executive director, Brian Newby, has blocked the travel of key staffers at the EAC who specialize in cybersecurity, preventing them from attending what training sessions have taken place….
Those interviewed — a mix of Democrats and Republicans ranging from the county to national levels of their parties — said that while DHS had been trying its best to fill the vacuum, the agency’s controversial role in the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration initiatives had left some state and local officials wary of working with it — or even being seen as working with the agency.
“The EAC is appropriately positioned as a nonpartisan federal entity to demonstrate leadership on this issue,” Amber McReynolds, the former elections director in Denver and current executive director of Vote At Home, which advocates for vote by mail options. McReynolds said that cyber security is the top issue facing elections officials, and that the EAC “has missed a tremendous opportunity to advance their mission to support state and local election officials in the administration of our elections.”
An EAC spokesperson did not respond to ProPublica’s inquiries concerning the complaints of elections officials, including the claim by some officials that an EAC commissioner, Christy McCormick, was effectively thwarting election security efforts. The spokesperson also did not respond to the claim that its executive director prevented staffers from traveling to visit local election officials. Neither McCormick nor the executive director, Newby, responded to repeated requests for comment.