Senate HSGAC Staff Issue Memo Highlighting DHS Aid to States to Secure Election Systems

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) Democratic Staff today released a memo to members of the Committee related to ongoing oversight of the critical infrastructure designation of election infrastructure. The memo details the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to provide voluntary, no-cost assistance to 33 state election offices and 36 local election offices that asked for help during the 2016 election cycle to shore up their election infrastructure in the wake of Russia’s attempts to hack into state and local systems. Two states and six local governments requested to begin cyber hygiene scanning since DHS designated election infrastructure as critical infrastructure in January 2017.

DHS wrote to Ranking Member McCaskill that, “DHS, in coordination with partners from the Intelligence Community, federal law enforcement, and MS-ISAC [the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center], observed Russian cyber actors attempting to access voter registration databases prior to the 2016 elections.”

The memo comes after a request from HSGAC Ranking Member Claire McCaskill to former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly to provide the Committee with answers to questions on the DHS designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure, and after all HSGAC Democrats called for a full investigation of Russian interference in U.S. elections.

The HSGAC Democratic staff memo is available online HERE.

Documents provided to the Committee from DHS are available online HERE.