FBI Updates State and Local Notification System for Election Security

FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) unveiled a new, internal policy to improve Federal procedures for notifying state and local officials of election infrastructure cyber threats.

“Understanding that mitigation of such [cyber] incidents often hinges on timely notification, the FBI has established a new internal policy outlining how the FBI will notify state and local officials responsible for administering election infrastructure of cyber activity targeting their infrastructure,” the agency explained in a Jan. 16 press release.

The new policy requires FBI officials to notify both the chief election official and other local election officials of known cyber threats to election infrastructure. The new policy also outlines additional guidance on:

  • Timely sharing of cyber threat notifications;
  • Protection of victim information; and
  • Collaboration between the FBI and other agencies on election security.

The agency said that “protecting the integrity of elections in the United States against criminal activity and national security threats is among the top priorities.” It hopes that increased coordination between agencies will aid that effort.

But Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said that the new guidelines are “not enough,” and said she wants voting threat data to be shared more widely.

“I will continue to push for federal officials to provide more information to the voting public when foreign powers interfere with our democracy,” said in a statement. “Our citizens will then be in a position to check their voter registration data to confirm it wasn’t tampered with and to hold accountable state and local officials who fail to protect election infrastructure.”

Rep. Murphy is a sponsor of the Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security (ALERTS) Act. The bill requires Federal officials to notify state and local officials of election security threats, as the FBI pledged to do with its new policy. However, the legislation also emphasizes the need for congressional and public notification of election tampering.

Katie Malone
About Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.

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