GCA Brings Together Election and Security Experts to Provide Insight and Resources for 2020 Elections

By Aimée Larsen Kirkpatrick, Global Communications Officer

The election community gathered on June 29 with GCA and several esteemed election experts, including two former secretaries of state, to discuss the 2020 state of election security.

A key theme from the session is that election officials are doing a tremendous job dealing with unprecedented challenges this election cycle, and there are many organizations and resources focused on supporting those efforts. And while the clock is ticking and the elections are drawing near, there are still many steps that can be taken to shore up defenses. Collaboration between the government and private sector was also examined, with discussions on several ongoing efforts, and a call for volunteering at polling places as an important contribution that can be made.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, welcomed the audience with opening remarks, stressing that we are in this together and need “all hands on deck,” with each of us playing a role in election security.

Megan Stifel, GCA’s Executive Director of the Americas, introduced the first panel, moderated by Trey Grayson, former Kentucky Secretary of State. The discussion focused on developments since the 2016 election, including policy guidance and legislative recommendations, and how those efforts impacted election security. Trey was joined by panelists Matt Masterson, Senior Cybersecurity Advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and former Election Assistance Commissioner; Ben Spear, Director, Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), Center for Internet Security; and Liz Howard, Counsel, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice and former Deputy Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections.

The second panel, led by moderator Wayne Williams, Colorado Spring City Councilman and former Colorado Secretary of State, explored some key challenges to election preparedness and which specific actions could be taken between now and November. Wayne was joined by panelists Jennifer Morrell, Partner, The Elections Group and former Deputy of Elections, Arapahoe County, Colorado; David Levine, Elections Integrity Fellow, Alliance for Securing Democracy and former election official for several localities; and Emily Frye, Director, Cyber Integration, MITRE Corp.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Megan put out a call to action for all attendees, encouraging them to:

➔   Use the tools and resources (see below)

➔   Share them with your state and local election offices

➔   Give us feedback on how we can help you

We are grateful to the moderators and panelists for volunteering their time, tackling the issues at hand, and engaging in candid discussions. We thank the audience as well for their insightful questions.

We invite everyone to check out the webinar recording, as well as links to resources below.


GCA: Cybersecurity Toolkit for Elections: https://gcatoolkit.org/elections/

CIS/EI-ISAC: Election Security Best Practices: https://www.cisecurity.org/elections-resources/

US DHS CISA: Election Security Resource Library &  #Protect2020 Strategic Plan: https://www.cisa.gov/election-security-libraryhttps://www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ESI%20Strategic%20Plan_FINAL%202.7.20%20508.pdf

Brennan Center for Justice: Election Security: https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/defend-our-elections/election-security

Alliance for Securing Democracy: Toolbox & Policy Papers: https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/toolbox/https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/category/policy-paper/

MITRE Corp: Election Integrity: https://www.mitre.org/news/focal-points/election-integrity

U.S. Election Assistance Commission: Election Security Preparedness: https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/election-security-preparedness

National Association of Secretaries of State: Cybersecurity Resource Guide: https://www.nass.org/sites/default/files/Cybersecurity/10.11_NASS_Cyber_Resource_Guide.pdf

National Conference of State Legislatures: Election Security: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/election-security.aspx