DHS Convenes All-Government Election Infrastructure Forum
The GCC election infrastructure forum includes local elections officials, state elections directors and DHS and U.S. Election Assistance Commission members.
ATLANTA – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and state and local election officials from around the country today to convene the first Government Coordinating Council (GCC) for the Election Infrastructure Subsector.
Today’s meeting is part of the department’s ongoing work with state and local officials as we build trusted relationships to help keep the nation’s election systems secure. The 27-member council includes three representatives from the federal government, with the remaining 24 representing state and local governments. The GCC framework provides a well-tested mechanism for sharing threat information between the federal government and council partners, advancing risk management efforts, and prioritizing focus of services available to sector partners in a trusted environment. Participation in the council is entirely voluntary and does not change the fundamental role of state and local jurisdictions in overseeing elections.
Today’s council meeting shows the seriousness with which federal, state and local officials take the threats to election infrastructure, and the level of cooperation taking place to address it,” said Bob Kolasky, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of the DHS National Protections and Programs Directorate. “State and local officials have already taken a number of steps to improve the security of the nation’s elections, and under the Government Coordinating Council we will be able to further leverage resources and our collective expertise. The security of the nation’s elections are critical to our democracy, and DHS stands ready to support this important mission through exercises, information sharing, and technical cyber analysis and expertise.”
The GCC structure is established under the department’s authority to provide a forum in which the government and private sector entities can jointly engage in a broad spectrum of activities to support and coordinate critical infrastructure security and resilience efforts. It is used in each of the critical infrastructure sectors established under Presidential Policy Directive 21 on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience.
In January, DHS designated election infrastructure as a subsector of the existing Government Facilities critical infrastructure sector. The designation did not create any new regulations or directives, but instead enabled DHS to prioritize cybersecurity assistance to state and local election officials who request it, made clear domestically and internationally that election infrastructure enjoys all the benefits and protections of critical infrastructure that the U.S. government has to offer, and enabled full and frank discussions between DHS and key stakeholders regarding sensitive vulnerability information.
Members of the GCC for the Election Infrastructure Subsector include:
- Lori Augino, Director of Elections, Washington
- Chris H. Chambless, Elections Director, Clay County, Florida
- Judd Choate, Director of Elections, Colorado*
- Jim Condos, Secretary of State, Vermont
- Edgardo Cortes, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections
- Bob Giles, Director, Division of Elections, New Jersey
- Mark Goins, Coordinator of Elections, Tennessee
- Ricky Hatch, Clerk/Auditor, Weber County, Utah
- Thomas Hicks, Vice Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission
- Sarah Johnson, City Clerk, Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, Orange County, California
- Bob Kolasky, Acting Deputy Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security*
- Connie Lawson, Secretary of State, Indiana*
- Linda Lamone, Administer of Elections, Maryland State Board of Elections
- Matthew Masterson, Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission*
- Denise Merrill, Secretary of State, Connecticut
- Paul Pate, Secretary of State, Iowa
- Noah Praetz, Director of Elections, Cook County, Illinois*
- Steve Reed, Probate Judge, Montgomery County, Alabama
- Tom Schedler, Secretary of State, Louisiana
- Steve Simon, Secretary of State, Minnesota
- David Stafford, Supervisor of Elections, Escambia County, Florida
- Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Secretary of State, New Mexico
- Todd Valentine, Co-Executive Director, New York State Board of Elections
- Linda von Nessi, Clerk of the Essex County Board of Elections, New Jersey
- Mac Warner, Secretary of State, West Virginia
- Michael Winn, Director of Elections, Travis County, Texas
*GCC Executive Committee Member