DHS Sees No Threat to Vote Tallies, Warns of Election Outcome Lag

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said today that his agency has not identified any threat that could change vote tallies in next month’s elections, but did say citizens should expect that the final results of all elections may not be clear by the conclusion of election night, November 3.

Speaking at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Cyber Summit 2020 event today, Acting Secretary Wolf provided a general assessment of overseas threats to U.S. elections and related infrastructure, and offered assurance that election infrastructure is sound.

“To date, we have not identified any threats that would prevent Americans from voting, or that would change vote tallies,” Wolf said. He added, “We remain confident that malign actors are not able to alter any votes.”

He said that CISA has helped thousands of government jurisdictions to implement voting system protections, and that “election security remains a national priority” for the Trump administration. “DHS is committed to ensuring our state and local partners have all the support they need,” he said.

Wolf also said that 92 percent of jurisdictions use voting equipment that has auditable paper trails, and that CISA has “direct lines” open with social media providers “to take action against false information spreading online.”

As for the timing of election results, Wolf declared that “the country may not know the outcome of the election on November 3,” but said that was to be expected. “It’s crucial that we do our best to spread the word about this scenario,” Wolf said, so that voters “are equipped with the knowledge necessary to reject misinformation about the unusual but predicted delay” in final voting results.

Wolf also praised CISA for its handling of election security issues leading up to the November election, saying, “CISA has proven unrelenting” in its efforts “to ensure that our citizens, and our citizens alone, are deciding the future of this nation.”

“Malign actors are counting down the days until the election, but so are we,” Wolf said. Of the threat climate generally, he singled out China for its aspirations to supplant the U.S. globally, Iran for its hope that the U.S. loses the resolve to oppose Iranian ambitions in the Middle East, and Russia for its desire to stabilize the U.S. and other democracies.

John Curran
About John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk SLG's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.