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Some Trump Election Commissioners Oppose DHS Cybersecurity Move

Some Trump Election Commissioners Oppose DHS Cybersecurity Move
(AP)

By    |   Friday, 18 August 2017 03:36 PM

Several members of President Donald Trump's election commission have objected to a Department of Homeland Security move to prioritize the cybersecurity of state and local voting systems, according to a Friday report in Mother Jones.

DHS announced in January that it would classify election systems as "critical infrastructure," which drew criticism from commissioner Christy McCormick, saying that such a move would intrude on states' rights.

McCormick said in a January statement that a report about Russian interference was a "gross and incorrect characterization."

Hans von Spakovsky, another election commission member, slammed the possibility that a cyberattack could affect U.S. elections. "There is no credible threat," he said, according to Mother Jones.

In February, the National Association of Secretaries of States also objected to the critical infrastructure classification, which included two secretaries of state from the election commission — Connie Lawson, Indiana's Republican secretary of state, and Matthew Dunlap, Maine's Democratic secretary.

Today, the relationship between DHS and state officials has improved, with a council to make decisions about resources and policies in the critical infrastructure plan, Mother Jones reported.

But Dunlap and Lawson remain in opposition to it. A Lawson spokeswoman confirmed her opposition, and Dunlap elaborated on his stance.

"While the issue of hacking has become a real concern for many aspects of our daily lives, voting is not one of them…there is no nationwide voting system that is accessible via the Internet or a network; thus, any attempt to alter the vote would require a massive conspiracy of thousands of poll workers from both parties and that is simply not feasible," Dunlap said in a statement, according to Mother Jones.

Voter fraud, not cybersecurity, is the greater threat, according to von Spakovsky and Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and vice chairman of the commission, Mother Jones reported.

White House chief of staff John Kelly is a supporter of the critical infrastructure classification. In July at the Aspen Security Forum, he encouraged states to ask DHS for help in such matters. "I think they're nuts if they don't," Kelly said at the forum, according to Politico.

The classification is not a government takeover of state systems, Kelly said at the forum. "If they don't want help, they don't have to ask," he said in Politico's report.

On Friday, Trump announced that he approved a Pentagon plan for an independent U.S. Cyber Command for cyberspace operations.

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Several members of President Donald Trump's election commission have objected to a Department of Homeland Security move to prioritize the cybersecurity of state and local voting systems, according to a Friday report in Mother Jones.
trump, election, commission, dhs, cybersecurity
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2017-36-18
Friday, 18 August 2017 03:36 PM
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