The Colorado State House in Denver

Jul 30 2020

Q&A: Colorado’s Jena Griswold on How to Get Ahead of Election Security Threats

Colorado’s secretary of state explains how the Centennial State is tackling cybersecurity threats to its election infrastructure.

Editor's note: This is one of a series of Q&As StateTech has conducted with state election officials and cybersecurity experts on election security. To read our Q&A with Adam Clayton Powell III, the executive director of the University of Southern California’s Election Cybersecurity Initiative, click here. And to read our Q&A with Peter Threlkel, director of information services for the Oregon Secretary of State, click here

With under 100 days to go before the Nov. 3 general election, election security is being more heavily scrutinized as states and counties prepare for the vote.

The possibility that a ransomware attack could cripple access to a voter registration database remains a major concern among cybersecurity officials. “A successful ransomware infection on the elections infrastructure could result in the irreversible encryption or possibly deletion of voter registration databases, vote tabulation or other sensitive records,” Tim Davis, an operations analyst with the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, said during a recent event hosted by the National Association of Counties, according to StateScoop.

State governments are also increasing their security efforts. On July 20, Colorado announced the creation of a rapid-response cybersecurity team that will help counties combat cyberattacks and disinformation. StateTech recently spoke with Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold on how her office is coordinating election security efforts and what she sees as the biggest threats.

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