Cybersecurity

Top election security official warns of election workforce problems: 1 in 3 have left posts

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Kim Wyman, the head of election security at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), is warning against threats to election workers, which have forced many to quit their positions ahead of the midterms.

In a recent interview with CBS News, Wyman, who served as the secretary of state of Washington, said that about 1 in 3 elections officials and poll workers have left their posts over concerns for their personal safety.

“We are facing a workforce problem,” Wyman said.

“As these stories of threats and intimidation are shared, people who would normally be poll workers on Election Day or work at a voting center are taking a step back and saying, ‘I don’t know that it’s worth my life or worth my personal safety,’” she added.

Wyman also said that state officials across the country are having trouble hiring poll workers ahead of the midterm elections. 

“It’s unnerving,” Wyman said as she got emotional during the interview.

Election officials are also preparing for other security threats, including foreign interference and insider threats.

In April, CISA Director Jen Easterly told lawmakers that election security is a top priority for her agency, which has provided guidance and resources to state and local officials on how to secure the election from various threats.

Easterly said she was also concerned about Russian interference in the midterms, including cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns.

U.S. officials and cyber experts have also warned about the rise of “insider” threats from state and local officials who have embraced former President Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

According to an NPR analysis, at least 20 Republican candidates running for secretary of state support Trump’s baseless election claims.

Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem (R), who’s running for secretary of state, attended “Stop the Steal” rallies in January and has received an endorsement from Trump. 

Tags CISA Jen Easterly Mark Finchem poll workers
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