Harrisburg, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s new Inter-Agency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup and county election personnel from across the commonwealth participated today in a first-of-its-kind national and local election cyber exercise organized in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The three-day Tabletop the Vote 2018 exercise, which began Monday, was designed to assist election, information technology and security personnel in training for cyber incident response by simulating scenarios that could impact voting operations. Each state could choose from among the three days of identical exercises. Staff from approximately 10 commonwealth agencies and 10 counties participated today at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters in Harrisburg.
“Pennsylvania has numerous protections and layered defenses already in place to secure the integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections,” Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres said. “This exercise allowed us to test our response plans so that we could share best practices to enhance our preparedness. State and county election officials had valuable practice putting emergency plans into effect.”
Torres and John MacMillan, Deputy Secretary for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at the Office of Administration, are co-chairs of the inter-agency workgroup.
“We want to ensure that elections in Pennsylvania continue to be secure and that trust in the democratic process is preserved,” said MacMillan. “We welcomed the opportunity this exercise provided for us to learn and improve.”
Member agencies of the workgroup include the Department of State, the Office of Administration, the Governor’s Office, the Office of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Office of State Inspector General and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Over the next few months, the workgroup will collaborate on increasing security resources, training, support, information-sharing and preparation at all levels of election administration. Additionally, the workgroup will hold several community forums around the state on election security.
The commonwealth also works with county boards of elections, the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Center for Internet Security and other key partners to maintain and enhance the security of Pennsylvania’s election process.
NOTE: Video, audio, and photos from this event will be available for download later today in an email from the Pennsylvania Internet News Service (PINS). To register for PINS emails, email@example.com.
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