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Progress Made, But Additional Efforts are Needed to Secure the Election Infrastructure

Executive Summary

Prompted by the suspicious cyber activities on election systems in 2016, Secretary Jeh Johnson designated the election infrastructure as a subsector to one of the Nation’s existing critical sectors. Our audit objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Department’s efforts to coordinate with states on securing the Nation’s election infrastructure. DHS has taken some steps to mitigate risks to the Nation’s election infrastructure; however, improved planning, more staff, and clearer guidance could better facilitate the Department’s coordination with state and local officials. Specifically, despite Federal requirements, DHS has not completed the plans and strategies critical to identifying emerging threats and mitigation activities, or established metrics to measure progress in securing the election infrastructure. Senior leadership turnover and insufficient guidance and administrative staff have hindered DHS’ ability to accomplish such planning.

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