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CISA & EAC Release Guide To Enhance Election Security

This guide on election security is designed for state, local, tribal, and territorial election officials who play a critical role as the primary sources of official election information.

by Samiksha Jain June 18th, 2024

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In a joint effort to enhance election security and public confidence, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) have released a comprehensive guide titled “Enhancing Election Security Through Public Communications.”

This guide on election security is designed for state, local, tribal, and territorial election officials who play a critical role as the primary sources of official election information.

Why Communication is Important in Election Security

Open and transparent communication with the American public is essential to maintaining trust in the electoral process. State and local election officials are on the front lines, engaging with the public and the media on numerous election-related topics.

These range from election dates and deadlines to voter registration, candidate filings, voting locations, election worker recruitment, security measures, and the publication of results. The new guide aims to provide these officials with a strong framework and practical tools to develop and implement an effective, year-round communications plan.

“The ability for election officials to be transparent about the elections process and communicate quickly and effectively with the American people is crucial for building and maintaining their trust in the security and integrity of our elections process,” stated CISA Senior Advisor Cait Conley.

The election security guide offers practical advice on how to tailor communication plans to the specific needs and resources of different jurisdictions. It includes worksheets to help officials develop core components of their communication strategies. This approach recognizes the diverse nature of election administration across the United States, where varying local contexts require customized solutions.

EAC Chairman Ben Hovland, Vice Chair Donald Palmer, Commissioner Thomas Hicks, and Commissioner Christy McCormick collectively emphasized the critical role of election officials as trusted sources of information.

“This resource supports election officials to successfully deliver accurate communication to voters with the critical information they need before and after Election Day,” they said. Effective and transparent communication not only aids voters in casting their ballots but also helps instill confidence in the security and accuracy of the election results.

How Tailored Communication Enhances Election Security

The release of this guide on election security comes at a crucial time when trust in the electoral process is increasingly under scrutiny. In recent years, the rise of misinformation and cyber threats has posed significant challenges to the integrity of elections worldwide. By equipping election officials with the tools to communicate effectively and transparently, CISA and the EAC are taking proactive steps to safeguard the democratic process.

One of the strengths of this guide is its emphasis on tailoring communication strategies to the unique needs of different jurisdictions. This is a pragmatic approach that acknowledges the diverse landscape of election administration in the U.S. It recognizes that a one-size-fits-all solution is not feasible and that local context matters significantly in how information is disseminated and received.

Furthermore, the guide’s focus on year-round communication is a noteworthy aspect. Election security is not just a concern during election cycles but is a continuous process that requires ongoing vigilance and engagement with the public. By encouraging a year-round communication plan, the guide promotes sustained efforts to build and maintain public trust.

However, while the guide is a step in the right direction, its effectiveness will largely depend on the implementation by election officials at all levels. Adequate training and resources must be provided to ensure that officials can effectively utilize the tools and strategies outlined in the guide. Additionally, there needs to be a concerted effort to address potential barriers to effective communication, such as limited funding or technological challenges in certain jurisdictions.

To Wrap UP

The “Enhancing Election Security Through Public Communications” guide by CISA and the EAC is a timely and necessary resource for election officials across the United States.

As election officials begin to implement the strategies outlined in the guide, it is imperative that they receive the support and resources needed to overcome any challenges. Ultimately, the success of this initiative will hinge on the ability of election officials to engage with the public in a clear, accurate, and transparent manner, thereby reinforcing the security and integrity of the election process.

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