The nation’s cyber defense agency hosted a three-day election security exercise with state, local and federal officials ahead of the 2024 race.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency led the nation’s largest annual election security exercise this week, working with the Justice Department, the FBI and other federal participants to fortify voting systems across the country as the election season begins to heat up.
The cyber defense agency hosted state and local election officials — as well as federal entities like the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command — for a three-day exercise starting Tuesday and involving hypothetical scenarios that could potentially disrupt election operations.
CISA Director Jen Easterly said in a statement that the exercise was meant to promote information sharing between federal, state and local election officials and "rigorous safeguarding of equipment and systems" ahead of the 2023 and 2024 elections.
"The federal government and election officials remain unified in ensuring the security and resilience of our nation’s democratic processes," she said. "Today’s threat environment is increasingly dynamic and complex, and we continue working closely together."
The exercise gives election security organizations like the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council Executive Committee the opportunity to share best practices and additional information about ongoing assessments to identify risks and vulnerabilities to the nation's voting systems.
Local elections workers faced a surge of cyberattacks throughout the 2022 midterms, as the FBI warned in a bulletin that cybercriminals were increasingly targeting election systems and critical infrastructure ahead of voting.
CISA has launched several initiatives to bolster election security in recent years and published publicly available election security tools and guidelines, including a cybersecurity toolkit and additional resources to help protect voting systems and election operations.
Agency officials said in a release that the annual exercise involves close coordination with the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors.
Officials also said that the exercise "gives participants the opportunity to share practices around cyber and physical incident planning, preparedness, identification, response and recovery."