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Cybersecurity & Standards

CDT Joins EFF, Other Experts in Open Letter on Election Security

The Center for Democracy & Technology joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Bugcrowd, Disclose.io, ICS Village, SCYTHE, Inc., Verified Voting and numerous individual experts in support of keeping partisan politics away from cybersecurity issues arising from elections.

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An Open Letter on Election Security

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. And since computers are deeply involved in all segments of voting at this point, computer security is vital to the protection of this fundamental right. Everyone needs to be able to trust that the critical infrastructure systems we rely upon to safeguard our votes are defended, that problems are transparently identified, assessed and addressed, and that misinformation about election security is quickly and effectively refuted.

While the work is not finished, we have made progress in making our elections more secure, and ensuring that problems are found and corrected. Paper ballots and risk-limiting audits have become more common. Voting security experts have made great strides in moving elections to a more robust system that relies less on the hope of perfect software and systems.

This requires keeping partisan politics away from cybersecurity issues arising from elections. Obviously elections themselves are partisan. But the machinery of them should not be. And the transparent assessment of potential problems or the assessment of allegations of security failure—even when they could affect the outcome of an election—must be free of partisan pressures. Bottom line: election security officials and computer security experts must be able to do their jobs without fear of retribution for finding and publicly stating the truth about the security and integrity of the election.

We are profoundly disturbed by reports that the White House is pressuring Chris Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), to change CISA’s reports on election security. This comes just after Bryan Ware, assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA, resigned at the White House’s request. Director Krebs has said he expects to be fired but has refused to join the effort to cast doubt on the systems in place to support election technology and the election officials who run it. Instead, CISA published a joint statement renouncing “unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections.” The White House pressure threatens to introduce partisanship, and unfounded allegations, into the expert, nonpartisan, evaluation of election security.

We urge the White House to reverse course and support election security and the processes and people necessary to safeguard our vote.

Read the full letter & signatories here.

More on CDT’s election security work here.