New Elections Government Sector Coordinating Council to Help Guide Critical Infrastructure Discussions

[Image via govtech]

This weekend, a new Elections Government Sector Coordinating Council was established, giving federal state and local election officials a greater voice in discussions about “critical infrastructure” and the nation’s election systems. Here’s the release from the EAC:

During a meeting held [Saturday] in Atlanta, members of the Elections Government Sector Coordinating Council (GCC) were assembled and the group adopted a charter to guide its operations moving forward. The GCC, which will inform how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works with state and local jurisdictions to implement its designation of elections systems as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, includes all U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner (EAC) commissioners. EAC Chairman Matthew Masterson and Vice Chairman Thomas Hicks are voting members, and Commissioner Christy McCormick is an ex-officio member of the GCC. The EAC chair also serves as a representative on the council’s executive committee. 

“The GCC allows election officials to help shape how the DHS’s election critical infrastructure designation can produce tangible impact at the state and local levels,” said Chairman Masterson. “The EAC’s goal was to establish a sector model that provides timely information sharing and expedited state and local access to security resources. The council’s work must focus on serving the needs of election administrators across the nation and let that principle guide future steps.”

Today’s developments are an important milestones in the effort to establish a critical infrastructure subsector that can facilitate timely information sharing and coordination between election officials and the federal government on issues like cyber and physical security of the nation’s election infrastructure. The EAC has played an instrumental role in providing opportunities for state and local election officials, as well as election vendors and other key stakeholders, to interact with the DHS officials charged with leading the critical infrastructure effort. In addition to today’s gathering, the commission has co-hosted three previous meetings to lay the groundwork for today’s actions. It has also independently hosted other gatherings and meetings throughout the year where stakeholders heard directly from DHS and had the opportunity to pose critical infrastructure questions.

Members of the GCC include:

  • Lori Augino, Director of Elections, Washington
  • Mary Brady, National Institute of Science and Technology (ex-officio)
  • Chris H. Chambless, Elections Director, Clay County, Florida
  • Judd Choate, Director of Elections, Colorado*
  • Jim Condos, Secretary of State, Vermont
  • Edgardo Cortes, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections
  • Bob Giles, Director, Division of Elections, New Jersey
  • Mark Goins, Coordinator of Elections, Tennessee
  • Ricky Hatch, Clerk/Auditor, Weber County, Utah
  • Thomas Hicks, Vice Chairman, U.S. Elections Assistance Commission
  • Sarah Johnson, City Clerk, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Neal Kelley, Registrar of Voters, Orange County, California
  • Bob Kolasky, Acting Deputy Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security*
  • Connie Lawson, Secretary of State, Indiana
  • Linda Lamone, Administer of Elections, Maryland State Board of Elections
  • Matthew Masterson, Chairman, U.S. Election Assistance Commission*
  • Christy McCormick, Commissioner. U.S. Election Assistance Commission (ex-officio)
  • Denise Merrill, Secretary of State, Connecticut
  • Paul Pate, Secretary of State, Iowa
  • Noah Praetz, Director of Election, Cook County, Illinois*
  • Steve Reed, Probate Judge, Montgomery County, Alabama
  • Tom Schedler, Secretary of State, Louisiana
  • Steve Simon, Secretary of State, Minnesota
  • David Stafford, Supervisor of Elections, Escambia County, Florida
  • Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Secretary of State, New Mexico
  • Todd Valentine, Co-Executive Director, New York State Board of Elections
  • Linda von Nessi, Clerk of the Essex County Board of Elections, New Jersey
  • Mac Warner, Secretary of State, West Virginia
  • Michael Winn, Director of Elections, Travis County, Texas

(*EIS GCC Executive Committee Member)

The GCC structure is a well-established component of DHS’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Advisory Council program. More information about this structure can be found in the EAC’s report Starting Point: U.S. Election Systems as Critical Infrastructure

Needless to say, this is a tremendous development, bringing election officials formally to the table as decisions are made on how the critical infrastructure designation might affect election systems – and election administration – in the months and years ahead. Congratulations to everyone named to the GCC, and kudos to those who worked so hard behind the scenes to bring election officials into the discussion.

I look forward to seeing and hearing what’s next; stay tuned …

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