Local voting officials convened in Atlanta this weekend to officially adopt a charter for the newly formed Elections Government Sector Coordinating Council (GCC) – a key step following the Department of Homeland Security's designation of elections systems as critical infrastructure.
Comprised largely of U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) commissioners and state and local secretaries of state and election directors, the GCC will carry on a mission to “inform how [DHS] works with state and local jurisdictions to implement its designation of elections systems as part of the nation's critical infrastructure,” according to an EAC press release.
“The GCC allows election officials to help shape how the DHS's election critical infrastructure designation can produce tangible impact at the state and local levels,” said Matthew Masterson, EAC chairman. “The EAC's goal was to establish a sector model that provides timely information sharing and expedited state and local access to security resources. The council's work must focus on serving the needs of election administrators across the nation and let that principle guide future steps.”
An EAC report on DHS' critical infrastructure designation further explains that the GCC will “enable interagency, intergovernmental and cross-jurisdictional coordination within and across sectors,” as well as partner with private-sector councils on public-private security efforts.
Voting rights lawyer and former Pennsylvania election official Marian Schneider, now the newly named president of Verified Voting, said that the formation of the elections council “is the right step towards establishing elections as critical infrastructure. Facilitating better communications about threats to jurisdictions is critically important to increasing election security.”