Secretary Merrill and General Evon Announce Partnership to Evaluate Election Cybersecurity in Each Connecticut Town
The Connecticut National Guard's cybersecurity team will audit the towns' election cybersecurity infrastructure at no cost to the towns
Hartford - Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard Major General Francis J. Evon, Jr. today announced a partnership to ensure that the election cybersecurity infrastructure of each of Connecticut's 169 towns are safe from foreign interference or attack.
"America faces serious challenges in preparing for the 2020 election and nothing is more important to the functioning of our democracy than ensuring that Connecticut citizens are able to vote freely and safely without the threat of foreign interference," said Secretary Merrill. "In Connecticut, every valid vote cast will be a vote counted. This partnership will give local election officials the resources they need to protect their election infrastructure from cyberattack."
The Connecticut National Guard has trained personnel able to look at the election cybersecurity systems in our towns and render advice based on what it finds. Using the current U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Resilience Review Self-Assessment Package, the Guard is able to assess each municipality’s cybersecurity posture regarding election infrastructure, policies, and procedures.
"The Connecticut National Guard is proud to be part of this endeavor. Our Guardsmen bring many unique capabilities to the table from both the public and private sector," said Maj. Gen. Evon. "Normally you see us as the State's first responders when emergencies occur, this is a different type of opportunity that brings our talents and cyber expertise to help protect our communities in a proactive way."
As has been widely reported, the Special Counsel's Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election found that, "[t]he Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion." The federal government has indicated that they have evidence of persistent and evolving efforts to compromise the 2020 elections through cyberattacks from hostile foreign actors as well. Secretary Merrill has made cybersecurity a focus of 2020 election preparation by convening the Connecticut Election Cybersecurity Task Force to determine how Connecticut's share of the Help America Vote Act's cybersecurity funds could be best put to use and creating a comprehensive cybersecurity plan for the 2020 election.
This service will be offered at no cost to the towns, and will be paid for entirely out of federal cybersecurity funds from the Help America Vote Act. Connecticut's elections are administered locally in each town by the elected Registrars of Voters (one from each major party) and by the Town Clerks. More information on Connecticut's 2020 election plan can be found at myvote.ct.gov/2020plan.