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Secretary Pate announces election cybersecurity plans for 2018 and beyond
Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State Seal WEBSITE:
Kevin Hall
Communications Director
(515) 725-2942
August 23, 2018

Secretary Pate announces election cybersecurity plans for 2018 and beyond

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announces his plans to bolster Iowa's election cybersecurity, utilizing a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission through the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Almost 60 percent of Iowa's HAVA Iowa funds will be committed to benefiting Iowa counties.

The integrity of Iowa's elections is the top priority for Secretary Pate. He is partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer to provide significant cybersecurity protection and resources statewide. Secretary Pate will also be adding an Information Security Officer and Cyber Navigator to his staff.

"First in the nation in voting demands first in the nation security, and that is what we are implementing in Iowa," Secretary Pate said. "We are building a human firewall that will be every bit as robust as the technological one. Working with all 99 counties, as well as state and federal entities, we will protect Iowa's elections on every level. Iowans can rest assured we are doing everything we can to ensure the sanctity of the vote."

Funds from the HAVA grant will also be utilized for post-election audits, to encourage eligible Iowans to register to vote, and to improve curbside voting and outreach to Iowans with disabilities.

"We are taking a holistic approach to election integrity, security and participation," Secretary Pate added. "There is not a silver bullet that will solve every security issue that might arise. Cybersecurity requires a team effort from every elections official in the state and country. It's a race without a finish line, but I am determined that Iowa will lead that race."

Measures Secretary Pate is taking or has already taken to protect the integrity of the 2018 elections include:

  • Partnership with DHS on the "Last Mile Project," to provide security posters for each of Iowa's 99 counties
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assessments, including Risk and Vulnerability, Cyber Resilience Review, External Dependency Management, Infrastructure Survey, and Phishing Campaign
  • Joined Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN)
  • Perform weekly vulnerability scan
  • Upgrades to firewalls protecting internal network
  • Joined the Electronic Registration Information Center, Inc. (ERIC) and will be sending out an Unregistered but Eligible (UBE) mailing by October 1, 2018
  • Two-factor authentication for I-VOTERS users
  • Develop and implement county level incident response plans
  • 2 table tops session were held in partnership with DHS for County Auditors, elections staff and county IT professionals
  • Create and distribute Curbside Voting Signs to counties for use at polling locations
  • Requiring "Securing the Human," an online cybersecurity training program, to county level staff in partnership with the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
  • Cybersecurity training opportunities for Secretary of State staff, County Auditors, elections staff, and county IT professionals through conferences at the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), The Election Center, and The National Election Security Summit
  • The Iowa Secretary of State's Office hosted two Cybersecurity Workshops for County Auditors, elections staff and county IT professionals to promote free services offered by the OCIO, DHS, and other state and federal partners
  • Post-election audits will be conducted following the General Election
  • Upgrades to Election Night Reporting system, including increased cybersecurity protections such as two-factor authentication
  • Hiring an Information Security Officer and Cyber Navigator
  • Partnering with OCIO to offer all interested counties malware protection and an intrusion detection system
  • Development of training tools for County Auditors, elections staff and precinct election officials
  • Development of communications aimed at reassuring the public confidence in the integrity and security of Iowa's elections
  • Development of communications aimed at educating and encouraging voters with disabilities to vote, including veterans with disabilities
  • Creation of a Cyber Working Group with local, state and federal partners

A full breakdown and summary of Iowa's HAVA funding and election security plans for the funding is available at this link.