Top election officials from around the country will be meeting in Washington, D.C., this weekend amid a flurry of news reports and political debates over the last two weeks about election security. Because administering elections is a function of the states and not the federal government, state and federal officials have appeared in tension as hearings on Capitol Hill continue to suggest the federal government wants a greater role in providing security and oversight. With the intense public scrutiny on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections, many of the secretaries of state say they have found themselves in a constant battle of dispelling myths about voting security and rebutting media reports, while walking a delicate balance accepting federal help on issues such as cybersecurity while also preserving the autonomy given to states by the Constitution.
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is hosting one of its biannual meetings in Georgetown beginning Friday and concluding on Sunday. NASS is a non-partisan organization that aims to foster a collaborative culture where “best practices” can be shared among the various states.
At least three sessions on Saturday will address concerns about election security, according to the NASS Winter Conference agenda, and those panels will include federal officials. While all officials involved share the same goal of making elections as secure as possible, there have been tensions and occasional disagreements between state and federal officials in the last year and a half.