#Protect2020


#PROTECT2020 is a national call to action initiated by CISA, the lead federal agency responsible for national election security, to enhance the integrity and resilience of the Nation’s election infrastructure, and ensure the confidentiality, truthfulness, and accuracy of the free and fair elections necessary for our American way of life. This page is designed to be a starting point for resources on election security for the public as well as election officials at all levels. Read the #Protect2020 Strategic Plan.

Announcements

October 19: Today, CISA released the Physical Security of Voting Locations and Election Facilities which is a general guide with resources and four actionable steps­­—to Connect, Plan, Train, and Report—that election officials should consider to improve the physical security posture and enhance resilience of election operations in their jurisdiction.

  • Download and share the Physical Security of Voting Locations and Election Facilities

October 14: CISA published the Assisting Sick, Exposed, Symptomatic, and Quarantined Voters guidance which provides measures for election officials to consider to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the November elections. This document is part of a series produced by the Election Infrastructure Subsector’s GCC and SCC Joint COVID-19 Working Group.

October 7: CISA released five products—three infographics and two maps—designed to combat disinformation by equipping election officials, stakeholders, and voters with information on mail-in voting, post-election, and election result processes (which vary by state and/or local jurisdiction), and the security measures in place to safeguard elections.

October 2: Today, CISA released the Election Disinformation Toolkit to help election officials emphasize their role as ‘trusted voices” for election information, and to spread the importance of “we’re all in this together” in reducing the impacts of disinformation campaigns on the 2020 elections.

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Learn about CISA's Election Security Services

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CISA's Election Security Resource Library

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Join the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC)

Find my State or Local Election Office Website

Find Your State or Local Election Office

CISA's Countering Foreign Influence Task Force (CFITF)

 

Why Do We Need #PROTECT2020?

The American electoral process has historically been targeted by foreign adversaries. As such, securing election infrastructure and ensuring an election free from foreign influence are national security priorities. Threats to election systems are constantly evolving, so defending these systems requires constant vigilance, innovation, and adaptation. CISA defines foreign influence as malign actions taken by foreign governments to spread disinformation designed to manipulate the public, sow discord and ill will, discredit the electoral process, disrupt markets, and undermine the interests of the American people.

#Protect2020 outreach enables CISA to build on the trust, expertise, and relationships developed through our election security work to broaden our state and local cybersecurity risk management efforts. CISA works with state and local election officials, who are responsible for the operation and administration of more than 8,000 election jurisdictions across the country, to identify and plan for potential vulnerabilities to election infrastructure ahead of and during the 2020 election season. In addition to engaging election officials, CISA’s #PROTECT2020 efforts include engaging political campaigns, political parties, and political committees at the national level.

To learn more, read the #Protect2020 Strategic Plan.

#Protect2020 Resources

  • Election Infographic Products: A set of five products designed to combat disinformation by equipping election officials, stakeholders, and voters with information on the mail-in voting, post election, and election result processes (which vary by state and/or jurisdictions). The products include:
    • Mail-in Voting Processing Factors Map: A weekly-updated map that offers a visual of the movement in each state’s mail-in ballot processing.
    • Mail-in Voting 2020 Policy Changes Map: A map that offers a visual of changes established to each state as a result of COVID-19.
    • Mail-in Voting Election Integrity Safeguards Infographic: A product that provides the description and in-person equivalent for procedural and physical ballot safeguards.
    • Post Election Process Mapping Infographic: A product that provides a timeline of post-election processes for the Presidential election from close of polls on Election Day, November 3, 2020, to Inauguration Day on January 20, 2021.
    • Election Results Reporting Risk and Mitigations Infographic: A product that provides an overview of the risks associated with results reporting systems and how they are managed through mitigating measures.

Note: CISA is committed to providing access to our webpages and documents for individuals with disabilities, both members of the public and federal employees. If the format of any elements or content within these documents interfere with your ability to access the information, as defined in the Rehabilitation Act, please email EISSA@cisa.dhs.gov. To enable us to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please indicate the nature of your accessibility problem and the preferred format in which to receive the material.

Understanding Foreign Influence

CISA defines foreign influence as malign actions taken by foreign governments to spread disinformation designed to manipulate the public, sow discord and ill will, discredit the electoral process, disrupt markets, and undermine the interests of the American people. #Protect2020 outreach enables CISA to build on the trust, expertise, and relationships developed through our election security work to broaden our state and local cybersecurity risk management efforts.

  • Recognize the Risk
    • Understand how foreign actors try to affect behavior.
      • Foreign actors might build an audience by starting or joining groups and spreading entertaining, non-controversial content. Eventually, they sprinkle in disinformation and steer followers to more extreme positions. The same actor will do this in many groups and pit them against each other.
  • Question the Source
    • Check who produced the content and question their intent.
      • Foreign actors can spend a lot of money to make disinformation seem like entertainment or news. U.S. laws require such agents engaged in political activities to disclose their relation to foreign governments. Look for those disclosures and think about what slant that relationship might put on how they report before accepting it as truth or linking to it online.
  • Investigate the Issue
    • Search for other reliable sources before sharing.
      • Do a quick search for other reliable sources before sharing a controversial or emotionally charged article, post, tweet, or meme you read. Studies show that being well informed requires getting information from many places. If it isn’t from a credible source or if you can’t find a second reliable source, don’t share it.
  • Think Before You Link
    • Ask yourself why you're sharing-and let your emotions cool.
      • Take a moment before sharing a link, email, or other message. Disinformation is designed to make you feel angry, shocked, or smug – always ask yourself why you’re sharing first. Are you posting to improve the conversation? Taking no action can be the best way to improve a discussion and thwart disinformation.
  • Talk to Your Circle
    • Talk with your social circle about the risks of spreading disinformation.
      • It's probably not worth engaging with every piece of disinformation, but if you are concerned with its spread you may want to speak out.  Share what you know about the risks of spreading disinformation and how to handle it.  Confronting with emotion may backfire, so when possible, combine humor with facts.

Enhancing Election Infrastructure Resiliency

Since 2016, the federal government has supported state and local efforts in three main ways:

  1. Sharing information about vulnerabilities and threats to their election systems
  2. Providing technical assistance, playbooks, and exercises
  3. Assisting state and local election officials in responding to cyber-related incidents targeting their election systems

The diversity and complexity of our elections systems makes the election process intrinsically resilient. Securing election infrastructure against this threat, like securing any system, is a continuously evolving process that requires constant vigilance, innovation, and adaptation.

In addition, voters in all states have the right to request provisional ballots, which are a fail-safe resilience measure to attacks on election infrastructure systems. Voters in states with Same Day Registration (SDR) can also reregister at the polling place, another resilience measure if voter registration systems are impacted by a cyber attack.

We will continue to ensure state and local elections officials have the necessary technical support and tools to assess risk, secure their systems and mitigate risk, and quickly respond to any cyber-related incidents involving their elections systems.

Our Partners

CISA's Countering Foreign Influence Task Force (CFITF) is engaged in identifying opportunities to foster resilience to foreign information activities. Building public awareness of the threat is critical to mitigating the impact of foreign influence operations. The federal government cannot solve the foreign influence problem on its own.  We need both trusted voices and those that can amplify resilience messaging.

Responding to foreign Influence requires a whole of society approach, and CISA is working with a range of partners to build societal resilience. Key partners include:

  • Private Sector
  • State, Local, Tribal, Territorial Governments
  • Academia
  • Research Community
  • Marketing and Advertising Experts
  • Federal Partners

Election Security GCC and SCC Resources

The below COVID-19 resources were developed by the Election Infrastructure Subsector’s Government Coordinating Council (GCC) and Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) Joint COVID-19 Working Group to provide voluntary tools for State and local election officials to assess risk, secure their systems, and respond to any cyber-related incidents involving their elections systems.

In-Person Voting Materials


For questions or more information, please email us at EISSA@cisa.dhs.gov.

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