DHS cyber agency invests in election auditing tool to secure 2020 elections

DHS cyber agency invests in election auditing tool to secure 2020 elections

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity agency announced Thursday it would partner with election officials and private sector groups to develop an election auditing tool that can be used to help ensure the accuracy of votes in 2020.

DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is partnering with non-profit group VotingWorks on an open-source software tool known as Arlo, which is provided to state and local election officials for free.

According to CISA, Arlo conducts an audit of votes by selecting how many ballots and which ballots to audit and comparing the audited votes to the original count.

ADVERTISEMENT

The tool has already been used to conduct post-election audits across the country, including during the recent 2019 elections. Election officials in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio and Georgia have signed on to partner with CISA on Arlo, with more officials expected to join.

“Heading into 2020, we’re exploring all possible ways that we can support state and local election officials while also ensuring that Americans across the country can confidently cast their votes,” CISA Director Christopher Krebs said in a statement.

Krebs added that “At a time when we know foreign actors are attempting to interfere and cast doubt on our democratic processes, it’s incredibly important elections are secure, resilient, and transparent.”

Use of post-election audits have been widely recommended by experts as a major step to secure elections, particularly in the wake of attempted Russian interference in 2016.

The use of audits was a step recommended by the Senate Intelligence Committee to secure elections in volume one of its bipartisan report on Russian interference efforts in 2016. 

“Statistically sound audits may be the simplest and most direct way to ensure confidence in the integrity of the vote,” the committee wrote. “States should begin to implement audits of election results.”