Carper pushes DHS for elections to be classified critical infrastructure

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Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is pushing the Department of Homeland Security to reclassify elections as critical infrastructure. 

In a letter sent Monday to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Carper writes “Designating election systems as critical infrastructure could improve and expand our nation’s ability to prevent and to respond to potential cyberattacks originating both from inside or outside our borders.”

The letter comes amid a growing debate over whether the ballot casting process should receive additional protections, DHS oversight and the legislative and diplomatic heft of being considered critical infrastructure. 

Johnson has indicated that the DHS was considering deeming elections critical infrastructure for some time — since before the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were hacked in what many believe to be Russian ploy to influence elections. 

“There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process,” he said, earlier this month. 

Security researchers have, frequently, highlighted security vulnerabilities in voting machines, including those that have since been decertified by local election boards. 

There is, however, no evidence that hacked machines have so far influenced a national election, and — as Carper’s letter says — neither has the DHS “publically identified a specific or current cyberthreat related to election systems” this year. 

Tags Tom Carper

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