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System Security

State and local autonomy over election administration is a critical source of resilience for the US election process. Further, the decentralized structure allows state and local officials to innovate by creating and implementing solutions, which effectively manage the risk to their unique systems.

CONTRACT WITH WASHINGTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD

The agreement allows a team of Army and Air National Guard members to conduct ongoing cybersecurity assessments of the state’s elections infrastructure, monitor activity during the election cycle, and fine-tune response plans in the event of a cyber-attack.

ENHANCED CYBER PROTECTIONS.

Washington state election officials have bolstered cybersecurity across all election systems by conducting penetration testing, cyber-hygiene scans, implementing additional technical security controls, and many more enhancements. In 2019 the Office of the Secretary of State created the Washington State Elections Security Operations Center to provide security services to both state and county elections officials.

GREATER INFORMATION SHARING.

The Election Infrastructure Subsector Government Coordinating Council (EIS-GCC) has developed communications protocols to ensure effective, efficient communication at all levels.

In February 2018, the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) was established. With all of Washington’s 39 counties as members, it serves as a monitor and hub of information sharing.

INCREASED CYBER TRAINING.

Washington State has participated in tabletop exercises by DHS, Harvard’s Belfer Center and other important trainings. The Security Operations Center (SOC) provides ongoing training and technical support to local election officials.

FEDERAL & PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS ARE WORKING WITH ELECTION OFFICIALS.

Washington State is working closely with DHS, FBI, Facebook, Twitter, Google and others through assessments, information sharing and educational opportunities to help us make our states’ election infrastructure more resilient than ever.

TABULATION SYSTEMS.

Before a system is Washington State Certified, it must be tested by an Election Assistance Commission (EAC) accredited, independent testing authority. For information on systems certified in the State of Washington, see:

https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/research/Voting-System-Testing-and-Certification.aspx.

Tabulation systems are on an air-gapped network not connected to the internet or capable of wireless communication.

Counties perform logic and accuracy tests prior to every election to ensure the accuracy of the vote counting equipment.