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California creates elections security office

California officials want to make sure the Secretary of State’s office is helping local elections officials prepare for possible cyber attacks.  California Assembly Bill 3075, which was signed into law on Aug. 28, creates the Office of Elections Cybersecurity within the Secretary of State’s office.

The new office will work with state and local elections officials to reduce the likelihood and severity of cyber incidents that could interfere with the security or integrity of elections in the state. The office will also monitor and counteract false or misleading information related to the electoral process to suppress voter participation or cause confusion.

Working with federal, state and local agencies, the Office of Elections Cybersecurity will share information on election threats, risk assessment and threat mitigation, develop best practices for election security and incorporate cyber incident response into  emergency preparedness plans for elections.

The new office will also coordinate its efforts with the Secretary of State to protect the security of internet-connected elections resources including the state’s online voter registration system, registration database and the Secretary of State’s election night results website.

“AB 3075 will equip state and county elections officials with resources to repel cyber-attacks and counteract misinformation designed to suppress voter turnout," said Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), the author of the bill. "By creating the first Office of Elections Cybersecurity in the country, California is taking the lead to combat nefarious tactics intended to undermine our democracy.” ​

The state's 2018-19 budget allocates $2 million to fund the Office of Elections Cybersecurity.

Read the full law here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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