The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in coordination with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), hosted the nation’s largest annual election security exercise this week. Public and private election security partners from across the country participated in the fifth annual Tabletop the Vote. The exercise, which was not in response to any specific or credible threat, took place August 17 – 19. It included a range of hypothetical scenarios affecting election operations, giving participants the opportunity to share practices around cyber and physical incident planning, preparedness, identification, response, and recovery.
Following the exercise, CISA Director Jen Easterly, and members of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council Executive Committee, including U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman Thomas Hicks, NASS President and New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, NASED President and Administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission Meagan Wolfe, and Escambia County (Florida) Supervisor of Elections David Stafford issued the following joint statement:
“The nation’s election officials face a range of challenges, including cyber and physical risks to their infrastructure, and false election information that weaken voters’ trust in the process. In the face of this dynamic environment, the election community works closely together to ensure the American people can be confident in the security and resilience of the 2022 elections.
“This week’s exercise was just one of the many examples of the year-round coordination taking place among the federal government, state and local election officials, and the private sector to prepare for the 2022 general election. In addition to Tabletop the Vote, many jurisdictions and states have also held exercises throughout the year.
“All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the territories, and thousands of local jurisdictions share and receive threat information through multiple channels, including the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC). Rigorous safeguards are in place to ensure the cyber and physical security of election equipment, and procedures and protocols are continuously improved to further identify, respond to, and recover from potential incidents.
“We remain committed to election security and to supporting election officials, government and industry partners, and others who serve on the front lines of our democracy.”
The fifth annual Tabletop the Vote included participants from the federal government, including CISA, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Agency, National Guard Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. State and local officials from across the country also participated, as well as more than a dozen election security industry partners.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas delivered opening remarks on Wednesday and CISA Director Jen Easterly addressed participants virtually on Friday.
CISA has a number of resources and tools for election officials available on its website.