Federal agencies raced to secure vulnerable systems in time for the 2018 midterms, but the job’s not done.
We’ve learned a lot about election security in the two years following the 2016 presidential election, and most of it is not confidence-instilling. U.S. voting systems, like any other electronic systems, have vulnerabilities.
In the months following the election, the intelligence community concluded a foreign power meddled in our election while the tech companies that oversee important social media platforms did little to identify or stop a large foreign influence campaign. The U.S. imposed retaliatory sanctions on Russia and Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies with crimes related to the hacking. But that’s the past, focus had to shift to preventing future attacks for the 2018 midterms.
Federal agencies and state, local and county partners had to work on building strong working relationships to share pertinent threat information with each other. The Homeland Security Department, for example, stood up an Election Day chatroom where local election officials could flag unusual behavior or issues in real time. The midterms brought only false alarms, but securing elections is a marathon, not a sprint.