Publication Date: July 2019
Publisher: Brennan Center for Justice
Author(s): Elizabeth Howard; David Salvo; Paul Rosenzweig; Christopher Deluzio
Research Area: Politics
Keywords: election security
State and local election officials are on the front lines of a cyberwar with sophisticated nation-state rivals and other malevolent actors. As Robert Brehm, co–executive director of the New York State Board of Elections, recently put it, “It is not reasonable” to expect each of these state and local election offices to independently “defend against hostile nation-state actors.” 1 State and local election systems have already been breached. In 2016 Russian hackers penetrated computer networks in two counties in the swing state of Florida, using information they had gleaned from a software vendor. 2 That same software vendor may have opened a gap for hackers to alter the voter rolls in North Carolina, another swing state, on the eve of the election. 3 Episodes like these undermine faith in our democratic system, and steps must be taken to prevent them from occurring again.