The Florida Department of State, Supervisors of Elections and other key partners met last week to participate in a Tabletop Elections Security Exercise facilitated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Orlando, Florida. The Tabletop Elections Security Exercise brought key stakeholders together to identify best practices for information sharing and cyber incident planning and response.
“Although October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, cyber security is a topic that elections officials across the state are focused on daily and collaboration with federal, state and local partners continues to be critical to our success,” said Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee. “We are dedicating a tremendous amount of resources to preventing any kind of successful attack on our elections but it is equally important to be prepared and know how to respond if a cyber-incident were to occur, which is why the Tabletop Election Security Exercise was an important part of our efforts to secure Florida’s elections. I want to thank the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and all of our partners for participating.”
The five hour Tabletop Election Security Exercise was attended by representatives from the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, county election offices, election vendors, the Florida National Guard, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Management Services Division of State Technology, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC). All 67 Florida Supervisors of Elections are members of the EI-ISAC, which specifically supports the cyber security needs of elections officials across all levels of government.
“This exercise is just the latest example of the strong partnership between CISA, Secretary Lee, and county election officials around Florida,” said Matt Masterson, Senior Cybersecurity Advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security. “By proactively exercising various scenarios, we can better understand each other’s processes and improve incident response plans, allowing us to stay one step ahead and ensure the 2020 elections are secure and resilient.”
At Governor DeSantis’ direction, the Department of State and Supervisors of Elections have been working more closely than ever before through the Joint Election Security Initiative. As part of the Joint Election Security Initiative, the Department conducted a review of elections systems security throughout the state to identify any weaknesses or vulnerabilities. The Department is currently working with Supervisors of Elections to address or mitigate any weaknesses or vulnerabilities prior to the 2020 elections. The Joint Election Security Initiative represents an unprecedented partnership between the Department of State and Supervisors of Elections to enhance election security statewide.
“The strong partnership among the agencies represented at the Tabletop Election Security Exercise allows for increased information sharing and better coordination on election security,” said Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections President and Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones. “Supervisors of Elections are continuing to do everything we can to prepare for and protect the 2020 elections.”