Amid talk of ongoing meddling in American elections by Russia or other adversaries, the head of Secretary of State William Galvin’s elections division met over the long weekend with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials to discuss the security of state elections systems. Last week, the director of national intelligence told federal lawmakers that the intelligence community has already seen signs that Russia, among others, may be attempting to involve itself in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections and other future contests. “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee last week. He added, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
In the days following Coats’ testimony, Michelle Tassinari, director and legal counsel of the secretary of state’s Elections Division, was the state’s representative at the annual conference of the National Association of State Election Directors, which featured briefings by federal officials on increasing awareness of vulnerabilities of state election systems and threat mitigation.
“The American public’s confidence that their vote counts — and is counted correctly — relies on secure election infrastructure. The first primaries of the 2018 midterm election cycle are just around the corner, and DHS and our federal, state and local partners have been working together for more than a year to bolster the cybersecurity of the nation’s election infrastructure,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement released Tuesday morning.