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Kirstjen Nielsen: Lack of US Election Systems Backup Poses National Security Risk

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Kirstjen Nielsen

Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has said that the lack of a mechanism to audit election results in certain U.S. states poses a “national security concern,” Reuters reported Wednesday.

Nielsen, an inductee into the 2018 Wash100, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that states should use paper ballot backups for electronic voting systems to prevent hackers from tampering with election results.

New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina do not have verifiable paper ballot backup in their voting systems, but some plan to acquire such platforms to support audits.

Eight other states have electoral districts that lack paper backups.

Nielsen appeared before the committee alongside former DHS chief Jeh Johnson to describe DHS’ efforts to boost election systems security following the 2016 presidential election.

Nielsen and Johnson believe high-level Russian leaders were involved in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 election.

The incumbent DHS secretary said the department worked to identify the right state election authorities to contact regarding threat information sharing — a capacity that DHS did not have in 2016.

Nielsen added that more than half of U.S. states sought DHS’ cyber scanning services to identify potential vulnerabilities.

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