The official recently replaced atop the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is joining the Department of Homeland Security to protect elections from cyber threats, The Hill has learned. Matthew Masterson was replaced as chairman of the EAC in February as a result of a decision made by Republican leadership. The move opened up House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to criticism. Masterson has now signed on to work as a senior cybersecurity adviser at Homeland Security’s main cyber wing and to assist the department’s election security mission. A Homeland Security official confirmed that Masterson will work at the National Protection and Programs Directorate, which spearheads efforts to protect critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats.
Masterson was widely viewed as a leader on cyber matters during his time chairing the EAC, an independent, bipartisan panel that, among its responsibilities, is working with Homeland Security to help states secure their digital voting systems from hackers.
Ryan decided against renewing Masterson’s term in February, a move that sparked a wave of Democratic criticism. The decision opened Republican leaders up to charges that they were not prioritizing election security.
Masterson was selected by then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and nominated by President Obama to serve on the EAC in 2014. Masterson’s four-year term expired in December, but he remained in the post while Ryan made a decision about a successor.