State Working To Bolster Cybersecurity Of NJ Election Systems

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TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, through its New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, are working to reaffirm the state’s commitment to election security.

New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said that they are participating in training sessions, constructing interagency communication channels, and integrating practices to strengthen the security of elections in NJ.

“The Division of Elections has been and continues to work with federal partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and other third-party security experts to continuously improve our security posture as the threat landscape evolves. The Department of State is working to ensure that every individual able to cast a ballot in November can do so knowing the state affords a safe and secure system,” said Way.

“We are committed to providing cybersecurity assistance to state and local officials throughout this election cycle and beyond,” said New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples. “We are working with county and municipal election officials to offer security services and continuously monitor our systems. To that end, the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell provides near real-time awareness of cyber threats and analysis, shares information on sound digital resilience and risk mitigation practices, and acts as a resource for cybersecurity incident reporting.”

The New Jersey Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) has been upgraded and modernized, to increase deterrence, detection, and response resources. We will see the upgraded NJ SVRS in place after this year’s Primary Election.

Prior to the rollout of the modernized system, Homeland Security will be working alongside the state to conduct a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment.

In addition to cybersecurity measures, NJ enhances voting machine security procedures through:

  • The use of seal-use protocols tamper-evident seals on all voting machines
  • The use of pre-election testing protocols
  • Requiring a seal-use protocol and voting machine security training class
  • Requiring all those working on the voting machines to undergo criminal and security background checks
  • Hardening and installation of anti-virus software on all election management computers.

Through its New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness continuously works with the New Jersey Secretary of State’s Office, it’s Division of Elections, and the New Jersey Office of Information Technology to assess and enhance other controls that protect New Jersey’s election processes.

State and local officials can contact the NJCCIC for assistance at njccic@cyber.nj.gov or by visiting the website at cyber.nj.gov.

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Kimberly Bosco is the Assistant News Editor/Writer at Micromedia Publications. A recent graduate of Rutgers University, she has spent the last four years studying both English and Journalism Media Studies. Kimberly has also recently worked for both Visit.org Dialogues @RU as a writing and editing intern.