election workers
Election workers in Oregon in October 2020. Image: Multnomah County Communications / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

CISA to establish network of regional election advisers for 2024

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will set up a network of regional election security advisers in advance of the 2024 vote.

Announced by Director Jen Easterly on Tuesday, the 10 advisers will support election officials working in their respective areas in an effort to “build even stronger connective tissue between state and local election officials and … CISA.”

“These election security advisers will be experts in the space, with firsthand knowledge of and experience with the infrastructure and officials across their regions in order to provide more tailored guidance and support to reduce risk from the full range of cyber and physical threats to your election infrastructure,” Easterly told the National Association of State Election Directors.

The regional focus is in line with CISA’s recent efforts to work with officials at the local level. The agency has set up coordinators in all 50 states to advise local governments on cyber protections and to protect critical infrastructure, and has appointed “regional external affairs officers, and regional training and exercise coordinators,” Easterly said.

It has also emphasized shoring up U.S. elections by combating foreign influence campaigns and hardening voting technology.

While the 2020 elections and the recent midterms largely avoided cyber intrusions, local officials have been in the crosshairs of campaigns to discredit their integrity. Easterly acknowledged this in her remarks, saying: “Some of you have faced harassment and threats to yourselves and your families.

“I want you to know that at CISA, we have your backs.”

In June, the agency announced that Cait Conley — a senior Easterly adviser and former executive director at the Belfer Center’s Defending Digital Democracy Project — would lead CISA’s election security efforts.

She will be responsible for recruiting and hiring the regional election advisers, Easterly said.

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James Reddick

James Reddick

has worked as a journalist around the world, including in Lebanon and in Cambodia, where he was Deputy Managing Editor of The Phnom Penh Post. He is also a radio and podcast producer for outlets like Snap Judgment.