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National: Secretaries of State balk at election system move by DHS | FCW

A group of state officials voted to oppose a federal critical infrastructure designation covering their election systems. They’re looking to get that designation removed. The National Association of Secretaries of State voted on Feb. 18 to oppose the Department of Homeland Security’s late January designation of state election systems as federally protected “critical infrastructure.” The designation puts election systems on similar footing as systems in the energy and financial services sectors. NASS also voted over the weekend to create a task force to work with federal agencies and stakeholders on election system cybersecurity issues. While some states, like Arizona, took DHS up on its offer to provide cybersecurity scans of some of their systems in the wake of attempted hacks into state voter registration systems, others are very wary of letting federal agencies into state-managed facilities for fear of, or the impression of, federal influence or management.

Full Article: States balk at election system move by DHS -- FCW.

National: California’s top elections officer finds his critique of Trump’s voter fraud accusations blocked at national meeting | Los Angeles Times

Secretary of State Alex Padilla, one of the most vocal critics of President Trump’s unproved accusations of voter fraud, lost in an effort Friday to convince other elections officials to take a stand on the issue. Padilla, attending a conference of the National Assn. of Secretaries of State, had drafted a resolution calling Trump’s repeated allegations of widespread illegal voting “without merit” and urging the president to “cease his baseless allegations about voter fraud.” But he was blocked at the last minute from introducing the resolution at the Washington gathering, even though the bipartisan organization issued a statement last month disputing Trump’s comments. The president’s assertions, never backed up with any specific information, have included the election results certified in California.

Full Article: California's top elections officer finds his critique of Trump's voter fraud accusations blocked at national meeting - LA Times.

National: State election officials blast ‘unprecedented’ DHS move to secure electoral system | Politico

State election officials on Monday denounced the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to label the country’s electoral system as “critical infrastructure.” The move, which DHS announced on Friday, puts the electoral system on par with the energy or financial sector, industries considered vital to national security and economic stability. On Monday, the National Association of Secretaries of State lashed out at the decision, saying it is “is legally and historically unprecedented, raising many questions and concerns for states and localities with authority over the administration of our voting process.” Secretaries of state oversee elections in most states. Several of these officials have expressed concerns that the “critical infrastructure” tag could presage a federal takeover of local elections.

Full Article: State officials blast 'unprecedented' DHS move to secure electoral system - POLITICO.

National: State officials warn Congress: don’t damage public confidence in election systems | SC Magazine

An association of state officials has published an open letter that seeks to strengthen public confidence in the electoral process, in light of research that has raised questions about the security of voting machines. The National Association of Secretaries of State’s (NASS) letter calls on Congress to avoid using political rhetoric or proposing legislation that may damage confidence in the election systems. State officials are “working overtime to help the public understand the components of our election process and some of the built-in safeguards that exist,” the letter stated. “Voting systems are spread out in a highly-decentralized structure covering more than 9,000 election jurisdictions and hundreds of thousands of polling locations.” Despite NASS’s argument that the decentralized structure of election systems creates added security, a series of reports on voting machine infrastructure suggests another view. In an email to SCMagazine.com, James Scott, senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), noted that the lack of a centralized system creates added risks. “The lack of a National system just means that some states manage secure election systems while others lack the resources or expertise to do so,” he wrote. “An attacker only needs to compromise the results of one or two pivotal states in order to alter the results of the election.”

Full Article: State officials warn Congress: don't damage public confidence in election systems.

National: State officials warn Congress against ‘rigged election’ talk | The Hill

State officials are reassuring members of Congress that the integrity of November’s elections is secure amid growing concerns over cyberattacks by foreign actors tied to Russia. In an open letter to Congress, the National Association of Secretaries of State warns against damaging public confidence in the electoral process. The group, made up of bipartisan election administrators across the nation, says security measures currently in place are sufficient to guarantee an accurate vote count.
Vote-counting systems “have their own fail-safes and contingency solutions that would make it highly difficult to leverage them for changing outcomes,” the association said. “Poll books, printed records, back-ups and back-ups of back-ups all provide multiple layers of security around this part of the process.”

Full Article: State officials warn Congress against ‘rigged election’ talk | TheHill.

National: National Association of Secretaries of State names members of election security group | FCW

After reports of possible hacks by foreign entities on U.S. voting systems and massive data theft from political party databases, the Department of Homeland Security is assembling a group of state and federal officials who will explore ways to protect the integrity of U.S. election systems. On Aug. 31, the National Association of Secretaries of State named four representatives to DHS’ Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity Working Group: Denise Merrill, Connecticut’s secretary of state and the association’s president; Connie Lawson, Indiana’s secretary of state and the association’s president-elect; and NASS Elections Committee Co-Chairs Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, and Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state. Other participants in the group include the Election Assistance Commission, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Justice Department, the FBI and the Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, the official said.

Full Article: States name members of election security group -- FCW.

National: NASS Elections report: Prepare for the worst | POLITICO

Are states prepared to deal with natural disasters during elections? A new report out Wednesday says while progress has been made, there’s room for improvement. With much of the East Coast facing the threat of another serious winter storm, the National Association of Secretaries of State is unveiling a report that looks at the current state of emergency preparedness of the nation’s elections rules, and makes recommendations for states to better prepare for the unexpected. Spurred by the landfall of Hurricane Sandy days before the November 2012 election, NASS formed a task force of secretaries of state and elections officials from 24 states last January to assess what could be done in such cases. The task force will present their findings Thursday to elections officials from around the country. The group found that only 12 of the 37 states that responded to its survey have laws dealing with postponing an election, and only 11 require contingency planning by law. Nevertheless, a majority of states have proactively developed such plans, they found.

Full Article: Elections report: Prepare for the worst - Tal Kopan - POLITICO.com.

National: Secretaries of State announce national task force on emergency preparations for elections | FoxReno

To support state efforts aimed at establishing sound administrative election practices in emergency conditions, Nevada Secretary of State and National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) President Ross Miller and NASS members today announce the formation of a Task Force on Emergency Preparedness for Elections. The task force is a national initiative, formed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which struck the East Coast just days before the presidential election on November 6, 2012. The effort will focus on identifying laws and practices that enhance the ability of state election officials to prepare for, and respond to, emergency situations.

Full Article: Secretaries of State announce national task force on emergency... | www.foxreno.com.

New Hampshire: Bill Gardner a New Hampshire institution | latimes.com

On Bill Gardner’s desk one day last week rested a column from a Las Vegas newspaper lamenting the imminent “surrender” of Nevada Republicans in their effort to move the state closer to the front of the presidential nominating calendar. They had surrendered to the man behind the desk, the 63-year-old New Hampshire secretary of state, who had stared down Nevada to the surprise of no one who has watched him wield tremendous clout in the process of choosing a president. Written on top of the page, and circled for emphasis, was another term in the column: “King Bill.”

Next week, Gardner is expected to announce that New Hampshire, having brushed back Nevada’s move for prominence, will hold its presidential primary Jan. 10, cementing the order of nominating contests that for the 24th straight cycle has no state’s primary coming before New Hampshire’s. Nevada moved back to Feb. 4, weeks after it had hoped to make its debut.

Full Article: Bill Gardner a New Hampshire institution - latimes.com.

West Virginia: West Virginia Welcomes Secretaries of State | Metro News

West Virginia is hosting Secretaries of State from across the country this week. The annual meeting for the National Association of Secretaries of State gets fully underway Monday morning at Glade Springs Resort in Raleigh County.

“It’s easy to be a great host in West Virginia,” Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said.

Those attending will be discussing 2012 election issues, business identity theft, the future of voting systems and new possible state laws for voting.  They’ll learn about social media and business identity theft.

Full Article: West Virginia Welcomes Secretaries of State - West Virginia Headline News and Talk Radio.