Congress, DHS Encourage States to Seek Help for Election Cybersecurity

(Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

A bipartisan letter sent by members of Congress to the National Board of State Election Directors encourages states to turn to the private sector and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as resources for protecting their elections infrastructure.

“We urge states to take full advantage of the robust public and private sector resources available to them to ensure that their network infrastructure is secure from attack. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security stands ready to provide cybersecurity assistance to those states that choose to request it,” wrote Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“This letter, from our congressional leadership, is a strong bipartisan statement endorsing the need for state election officials to take advantage of available cybersecurity expertise, including the Department of Homeland Security, to help secure their systems,” said DHS secretary Jeh Johnson. “Before November 8, I urge state and local election officials to seek our cybersecurity assistance. So far, 21 states have contacted us about our services. We hope to see more.”

Johnson added that seeking help from DHS does not constitute a Federal directive over state systems.

“By its nature, the assistance DHS provides is upon request, and voluntary for the recipient,” Johnson said.

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