CISA Hosts Dress Rehearsal to Protect the Vote

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This week the Federal agency primarily responsible for protecting elections held a training event to test its plans in advance of November’s Election Day. The third “Tabletop the Vote” exercise hosted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), took place over a three day period from July 28 to 30, featuring 37 states and over 2,000 total participants, the majority of which participated remotely.

“In less than three months, millions of Americans will cast their vote,” said CISA Director Chris Krebs, along with Federal, state, and local election officials, in a statement following the event. “But for the state and local officials who administer elections, and the government and private sector partners who support them, the work has been ongoing for more than three years. We have made significant progress during that time, and this week’s Tabletop the Vote exercise demonstrates the unprecedented levels of coordination between all levels of government and the private sector to ensure the 2020 elections are decided by voters, free from foreign interference.”

During the exercise, election officials came together to plan for various scenarios unique to this year’s election, including discussions of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on election processes, and adjustments or new measures election officials have implemented to keep voters and poll workers safe.

The officials said this Election Day may “look different” with more Americans voting absentee. “It will take longer to tabulate and report complete results,” the group said. “We recognize that change can lead to confusion, and adversaries may seek to exploit that confusion to spread doubt in the process or disinformation.”

They urged people to “be patient and remember that your state and local officials are the best sources for trusted and accurate information about voting, Election Day procedures, and official results.”

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