Nine Month Wait for DHS Review of States’ Election Systems

Politico is reporting that there is currently a nine month waiting period for the Department of Homeland Security to get around to reviewing individual state’s election systems. That means any state already in line for a review process will not get one until the week or two before the 2018 midterms, meaning that any pertinent information gleaned or offered solutions will not have time to be implemented.

Here’s more, from Tim Starks’ piece (bolded text below is my highlight):

The scanning, known as a “risk and vulnerability assessment,” is the crème de la crème of security exams: DHS personnel come in person to do an intensive, multiweek probing of the entire system required to run an election. But department officials acknowledge that it’s of limited use if it doesn’t come soon enough for states to correct their flaws before voters go to the polls.

(…snip…)

Congress has yet to pass any bill that specifically addresses election security, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions caused consternation when he admitted in a hearing that “we’re not” doing enough to block hackers from meddling in the 2018 elections. “The matter is so complex that — for most of us — we’re not able to fully grasp the technical dangers that are out there,” he said.

DHS has stepped into this void. In the final weeks of the Obama administration, the agency classified the country’s election systems as “critical infrastructure,” putting them on par with hospitals and power plants, which receive priority status for the department’s cybersecurity assistance.

States would be wise to buttress election system vulnerability and voter database security, while asking DHS to suggest common areas of concern for states unable to get a scanning/review in time. That way they can try to look at potentially problematic areas of concern themselves in the hopes of addressing some of the challenges before the election. Voting rights’ advocates and concerned citizens can  educate voters on numerous issues as well, from being aware of the amount of misinformation campaigns and bots on social media to voter registration quirks and ballot integrity concerns that may differ from state to state.