Though it’s a non-presidential election year, it’s business as usual for election officials across the country.
This “down time” gives them a chance to do much of the work needed to continue to prepare and protect their systems.
That’s according to Liz Howard, senior counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. Howard contributes to the GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit for Elections Advisory Group, which brings together leaders from across election associations, non-governmental organizations, corporate, and public sectors to collaborate and advise on cybersecurity policy and best practices in order to improve resilience against threats posed by use of information and communication technology in elections.
“Cyber attacks are becoming more and more prevalent,” she said. “They know that they are targets.”
That means having access to tools and resources to help protect and prevent attacks to election infrastructure.
Howard notes that incorporating these principles are by no means new, as election offices have explained to voters the importance of safeguards in the past.
But, the pandemic has only exacerbated concerns and tightened budgets. Election offices have been historically underfunded, even pre-pandemic, but election officials are now tasked with not only election security but pricey COVID-19 protocols as well.
“Many of them are under-resourced, many of them need tools and assistance to help them to update their systems,” Howard said.
So, the simplicity of a toolkit will help.
The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) and the Brennan Center’s partnership does just that. Together GCA and the Brennan Center will work to promote election security and protect our democracy. The Brennan Center has multiple reports and resources on all things elections, from post-election audits to Congressional testimony on election security. Meanwhile, GCA’s Cybersecurity Toolkit for Elections can equip local election officials with entry-level tools that they can use quickly, even with budget and staffing constraints.
“Election security is a matter of national security,” Howard added.
The Global Cyber Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the Internet a safer place by reducing cyber risk. We build programs, tools, and partnerships to sustain a trustworthy Internet to enable social and economic progress for all. GCA is a 501(c)(3) in the U.S. and a nonprofit in the U.K. and Belgium. Learn more at globalcyberalliance.org.
The Brennan Center for Justice is an independent, nonpartisan law and policy organization that works to reform, revitalize, and when necessary, defend our country’s systems of democracy and justice. Learn more at brennancenter.org