CISA Issues Physical Security Checklist Ahead Of US Election

The checklist is adaptable to individual facility needs and resources, allowing election workers and volunteers to assess potential security threats and incidents easily.

by Samiksha Jain April 23, 2024 in Cybersecurity News, Firewall Daily, Governance Reading Time: 3 mins read 0

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As the United States gears up for another round of crucial elections, the focus on securing polling locations is more critical than ever. In a bid to fortify security preparedness at the frontline of U.S. elections, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency () has released the for Polling Locations, a new tool tailored to empower election workers with actionable and accessible security measures.

Cait Conley, Senior Advisor at CISA, emphasized the importance of protecting polling places, stating, “Protecting against physical threats to election locations like polling places where Americans cast their vote is one of the most significant responsibilities election officials bear. CISA is committed to doing anything we can to support this mission,”

Simplified Security Measures With Physical Security Checklist

The Physical Security Checklist is part of CISA's suite of election security resources, designed to equip election workers with straightforward measures for enhancing security at temporary election facilities.

It is crafted for simplicity, requiring no prior security expertise for implementation, and covers pre-planning and Election Day procedures. The checklist is adaptable to individual facility needs and resources, allowing election workers and volunteers to assess potential security threats and incidents easily.

Through a series of yes or no questions, election workers can evaluate existing security measures and identify areas for improvement, aiding in the establishment and enhancement of physical security measures. While no measure can eliminate all risk, these resources empower officials to understand, mitigate, and address security challenges proactively.

The checklist is part of a broader initiative by CISA to support the physical security of election infrastructure. The agency's Protective Security Advisors, serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and territories, offer support to state and local election officials by sharing information, conducting physical security assessments of election facilities, and providing no-cost services and training on various security areas.

These offerings include de-escalation techniques, responding to active shooter situations, and other physical threat-specific training to address the evolving threats facing election officials.

Key Security Principles

In an effort to ensure ease of use and accessibility, the Physical Security Checklist for Polling Locations broadly addresses several overarching security principles:

  1. Identifying Responsibility: Establishing an individual or group responsible for security and safety.
  2. Risk Assessment: Utilizing risk assessments to inform security measures.
  3. Developing Plans: Developing plans to inform processes and procedures.
  4. Refining Measures: Refining security measures before Election Day.
  5. Implementing Mitigations: Implementing mitigations and “day of” security measures.
  6. Reporting Incidents: Encouraging the reporting of suspicious behavior or potential incidents.

Individuals or groups responsible for preparing polling locations for use on Election Day can utilize this resource to assess potential security vulnerabilities and identify additional actions required in advance of the election. The checklist requires no prior security experience and is designed to be user-friendly.

As the nation prepares for upcoming elections, CISA's Physical Security Checklist for Polling Locations serves as a crucial tool in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.

By empowering election workers with accessible and actionable security measures, CISA continues to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring the security and resilience of U.S. elections.


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