The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) released a report Tuesday that raises concerns over safety on Election Day.
The DHS IG authored the report to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs on October 22. The report praised improvement in cybersecurity but also criticized current DHS physical safety measures for the election:
DHS has improved coordination efforts to secure the Nation’s systems used for voting, but should take additional steps to protect the broader election infrastructure, which includes polling and voting locations and related storage facilities, among other things. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed a set of plans and guidance aimed at securing election systems for the 2020 election cycle. But, the plans do not sufficiently mitigate other potential risks to physical security, terrorism threats, or targeted violence to the election infrastructure, nor do they identify dependencies on external stakeholders that impede mission performance. DHS senior leadership turnover and ongoing CISA reorganization have hindered CISA’s ability to enhance planning and effectively monitor its progress in securing the Nation’s election infrastructure.
In the report, the DHS IG recommended that the DHS revise the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, increase collaboration between the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the CISA to improve information communicated to Federal agencies and local election officials, and use staff resources to aid state and local officials in election security.
The report follows as many Americans have expressed concerns over the upcoming presidential election. According American Psychological Association’s Stress in America report released in October, 68 percent of Americans cite the election as a major source of stress compared to only 52 percent of Americans who cited the election as a major source of stress in 2016. Additionally, the DHS Inspector General’s report comes at a time in which the FBI has reported record background checks for gun ownership with eight of the 10 highest weeks in history and five of the 10 highest days in history for the number of firearm background checks taking place in 2020.