State of security: New Jersey

Who’s in charge: Secretary of State Tahesha Way

Security in action: In August New Jersey made public its spending plan for the $10.2 million the state has set aside to help secure its state and local level elections. The federal government supplied $9.7 million which was matched by $500,000 from state coffers.

The program runs through 2023 and will fund a wide variety of programs to protect the state’s electoral critical infrastructure. This includes cybersecurity where the state will hire and fund an employee who will be solely dedicated to elections. This individual will also be the liaison to the IT directors at each county to assist them in securing their election systems. The state will also address physical security conducting an assessment through a program for county officials to inspect and develop a remediation plan for any deficiencies with the physical security of voting machines, election material, data, and devices used in the electoral process.

The state will conduct tabletop cybersecurity training exercises, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for election officials across the state and will improve communications so voters can easily find verifiable, trustworthy sources of information concerning elections.

Two pilot programs also will be initiated with the funds. One will allow for the purchase or lease of a small number of voting machines that utilize a verified paper audit trail for use in a few jurisdictions. The other pilot program will have county officials conduct a post-election audit based on the results of the new paper trail-capable voting machines.

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