DHS could carry out on-the-ground vetting of the election systems of all 50 states before midterm elections in November if states that haven’t yet asked for help do so, according to department official Bob Kolasky.
Speaking during the Election Security Assistance Summit, Kolasky said that he would like all states to sign up for the cybersecurity assessments; if they did, he vowed DHS would be able to vet them all before November elections.
So far, DHS has assessed security systems in three states and 11 assessments are scheduled before April.
The move to tighten up the security of state election systems comes in the wake of the Russian hacking scandal in the 2016 presidential election. A year ago, DHS made the decision to designate election systems as critical infrastructure so they could offer help and resources to state election officials to ensure systems were as secure as possible.
Although states were initially wary of the idea, Kolasky says that they are steadily becoming more cooperative. “The feedback has been better with states we’ve done more with,” he said. “When you start to get past the politics and policies and into the security services, they’re finding value with that.”