President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Wednesday that she pressed her polling place on voting machine security when she voted in Virginia this week. Kirstjen Nielsen, the nominee for Homeland Security secretary, made the comments during her confirmation hearing Wednesday morning when asked about the department’s role in protecting election infrastructure from cyberattacks. “When I went to vote this week in the Virginia election, I was quite concerned with the scanning machine and started asking a variety of questions on what the security was on the scanning machine for the ballot. I think we all have to be very aware and work with the state and locals,” Nielsen said.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., stressed the need for “an auditable election” — one with a paper trail that could be checked in the event of any doubts or hacking reports. He asked Nielsen to commit to swiftly getting state officials the security clearances they need to view threat information and ensure that states can audit the results of their elections following the vote.
“You have my commitment,” Nielsen said. “The role of DHS, as you know, is to respond to requests from those officials, ensure that they have the clearance so that they can receive the information, and then offer a variety of tools to ensure from supply chain all the way through to that dissemination of the voter roles, that it’s protected.”