State election chiefs said Wednesday that federal homeland security officials haven’t shared enough intelligence information about Russian attempts to access last year’s election — possibly hampering efforts to better protect their systems. “We need this information to defend state elections,” Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, president-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State, told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The committee held a hearing on Russia’s interference in last year’s elections as part of its ongoing investigation. “We were woefully unprepared to defend and respond (to Russian meddling) and I am hopeful that we will not be caught flat-footed again,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the committee’s chairman. “I am deeply concerned that, if we do not work in lock step with the states to secure our elections, we could be here in two or four years talking about a much worse crisis.”
State election officials said having key information will be critical to helping them safeguard their systems, which are run at the local level. Lawson said federal officials have been slow to share key information.
“We’re not getting it in a timely way,” she said after the hearing. “It’s better than it was in August. But it’s a problem when I’m the secretary of state and I’m driving in to work and I hear about a voting system vendor being hacked on the radio. That’s a problem.”
Lawson said the Department of Homeland Security has agreed to work with NASS to improve communications with state officials. Federal homeland security officials will also speak at the group’s summer conference in July in Indianapolis.