Top US cyber official says state officials ‘pleased’ with government help securing election, some election administrators say otherwise


One of the nation’s top cybersecurity officials said state election workers in Wisconsin and Michigan have told him they are “pleased” with the federal government’s support for the 2022 midterm elections, while some state officials say they are not getting enough.

Jen Easterly, director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), was asked by CNN’s Alex Marquardt on Saturday about state officials in Wisconsin and Michigan, who say they don’t receive enough federal protections for election and employee security.

“I was actually in Michigan and Wisconsin last week,” Easterly said, adding that he met with Wisconsin Board of Elections Administrator Meagan Wolfe and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

He said he “asked them if they were getting everything they needed from us,” adding that they were “really happy with everything we offered,” reiterating that state and local officials have grants to strengthen election infrastructure.

Benson told CNN last month that sometimes “there’s a breakdown where states will get funding and it won’t get to local citizens,” adding, “that then makes it harder for us to get federal funding in future rounds, because it doesn’t always get there. to the right place.”

Asked Saturday by Marquardt about Easterly’s response, Benson said “we appreciate the federal assistance that’s been given; it’s just not enough.”

“In many ways, we are better prepared and better funded than we were in 2020,” Benson added. “But the challenges we face are increasing. Therefore, there will be a need for a regular flow of resources in the future.”

Easterly also said on Saturday that it was up to social media platforms to combat disinformation, stressing that CISA was “deeply concerned about disinformation by foreign actors”.

“To be clear, we don’t flag anything for misinformation and disinformation platforms,” ​​Easterly said. “That’s entirely up to those platforms in their terms of service and how they comply.”

He added, “We focus on the state and local election officials who know the most about their voting infrastructure. We’re really amplifying their voice as a trusted voice.”

But having the “authoritative support of our federal partners” to correct voting misinformation and misinformation is “really important,” Meagan Wolf, head of the Wisconsin Election Commission, previously told CNN. “And I think what they’re giving now is less protection than what they did around the 2020 election.”

Easterly said “people should have confidence in the integrity of the election.”

“We have no information about specific or credible threats to disrupt or compromise election infrastructure, but we are working very, very closely with state and local election officials to make sure they have everything they need to conduct a safe election on Tuesday,” Easterly. he said

Benson, Michigan’s secretary of state and elections administrator, told Marquardt, “We are at a key point where there will be an opportunity — and there have been potential plans — to question the eligibility of voters on Election Day and otherwise intimidate them. A way to promote a political strategy to influence democracy.”

Benson, whose family has been harassed in the 2020 election, added that he met with the Wayne County sheriff on Saturday to discuss the fear of voters in the Detroit metro area.

“We have people ready to respond immediately to anyone who tries to intimidate voters,” Benson said, and “we will hold them accountable as and when that happens.”