How Election Officials Can Enhance Information Security
The report calls for increased and consistent funding for election security efforts, on a scheduled and long-term basis. The report recommends that election officials then use that funding for several key priorities.
One should be “widespread education and awareness campaigns on election processes and transparency (‘how elections actually work’)” to combat misinformation about the election process.
The report also recommends that officials invest in “systems, processes, and procedures that support evidence-based elections, allowing election officials to present demonstrable evidence of the accuracy of voter registration systems, ballot chain of custody, system access controls, and election results.”
Additionally, the report notes there should be “support for nationwide statistically significant pre-certification post-election audits that adhere to a set of accepted standards and best practices.” Since it will take time to develop, train and implement audits of election results, the report notes that it’s important to start this work right away.
Even with additional funding, state and local election officials will likely not be able to have the “expertise and capability to meaningfully monitor and analyze election related mis- and disinformation,” the report notes. It therefore recommends increased federal initiatives to help in such efforts.
Federal leaders should “establish and maintain relationships with state and local election officials, academia and non-profit leaders to quickly identify emerging narratives and facilitate responses by state and local officials,” the report notes.
Further, the report notes that federal officials should amplify “state and local messaging in the lead up to and following” federal elections.
The report points to a rumor-control program established by CISA in the last few weeks of the 2020 campaign as an example of such a resource.
“Elections across the U.S. continue to suffer from insufficient state and local funding, resulting in poor communication and growing distrust,” the report concludes. “While federal funding over the last four years has helped address funding shortfalls, inconsistent appropriations continue to impact the ability of election officials to make long term planning and hiring decisions. Consistent funding on an established timeline can help state legislatures in their own budgeting, and also allow election officials to enter into contracts, build staff, and train for longer term administration outcomes.”