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Homeland Security still concerned over elections

The Homeland Security Secretary met with Congressional members to update them on threats to U.S. elections. She said she is concerned that foreign actors, including Russia, China and Iran, could attempt to interfere in upcoming elections.

Officials have grown increasingly wary of digital threats to future elections following Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential contest, which included efforts to target and hack into state electoral systems, like voter registration databases.

The Department of Homeland Security has been working to provide state election officials with cybersecurity vulnerability assessments and other services in order to ensure that their digital systems are secure and resilient and to bolster confidence in the vote.

Here is the joint statement from DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats regarding today’s Capitol Hill briefing on election security:

“Securing our nation’s election infrastructure is a vital national interest that requires the commitment of our federal, state, and local partners. This is an issue that the Administration takes seriously and is addressing with urgency. That is why today we sought to enlist Congress’ help in working with state and local election officials back home to raise awareness of the potential threats and urge them to continue to use available resources, either from DHS, the FBI or a private, third party.

“Following the threats to our democratic process in 2016, DHS, ODNI, and the FBI each prioritized our defined roles in working with state and local election officials to assist them in their threat understanding and risk management practices. In the face of a rapidly evolving threat environment, our collaborative efforts with those on the front lines of administering our elections at the state and local levels are critical to enhancing the security of our nation’s elections. Congress is one of our most critical partners in ensuring the success of this ongoing effort. Today’s briefing provided an opportunity to highlight our individual and collective efforts to protect this critical infrastructure.

“There is a fundamental link between public trust in our election infrastructure and the confidence the American people place in basic democratic functions. With primaries already underway across the United States, and the general election less than six months away, it is critical—now more than ever—to safeguard and secure our election infrastructure. We are encouraged to see the level of engagement today and hope to continue this ongoing conversation about reducing risks and defending our electoral process.”

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