PROVIDENCE, RI – October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month, and with less than two weeks until the November 6 general election, the topic of cybersecurity dominates elections discussions across the country. Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea today met with U.S Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline and Jeannette Manfra, Assistant Secretary and top cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the latest work to defend Rhode Island elections from cyberthreats.
"As Secretary of State, I have been improving access to the ballot box, while protecting the integrity of every vote," Secretary Gorbea said. "At the federal level, we have RI leaders protecting our democracy as well. Congressman Jim Langevin, a national cybersecurity expert, has done impressive work on cybersecurity which builds on his record of innovation as a former Secretary of State. Congressman David Cicilline led the way in helping keep our voter rolls accurate with his proposal for Automatic Voter Registration."
In their meeting, Secretary Gorbea provided an update on how Rhode Island has bolstered its elections security planning ahead of the November election and how $3 million of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding allocated to the state by Congress earlier this year through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, is being used to strengthen the security of Rhode Island's elections infrastructure.
"Thanks to Secretary Gorbea's leadership, Rhode Islanders can be confident in the integrity of our elections when they head to vote on November 6," said Congressman Jim Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus and a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. "I'm thrilled that Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Jeanette Manfra accepted my invitation to come to Rhode Island and learn how Rhode Island is leading the charge on election security. I am also deeply grateful for the work her team at DHS does to protect all aspects of our critical infrastructure from growing cyber threats. Our adversaries' goal is to sow distrust in the system, and the best way to fight back is by making your voice heard at the ballot box."
"Elections are the basis of our democracy," said Cicilline. "It is vital that at the federal level we work to provide additional resources so that our states and municipalities can safeguard our election systems. These types of investments will help voters feel confident participating in the important election process."
"The Department of Homeland Security values our partnership with Rhode Island as we work together to improve the security of the election process," said Assistant Secretary Manfra. "Secretary Gorbea and the Rhode Island Congressional delegation have been incredible partners in our combined efforts to ensure secure and resilient elections for the voters of Rhode Island. A key part this work is ensuring everyone – from state and local officials to volunteers and poll workers to voters – understand the process and the steps election officials are taking to make our elections resilient and secure. Rhode Island takes its election security efforts seriously and DHS will continue to provide support to Secretary Gorbea and election officials to ensure a smooth and accurate election day on November 6."
Before their meeting, Secretary Gorbea and Congressman Langevin reviewed with local, state, and federal election officials and cyber experts the security protocols for Election Day operations.
"For elections to work, Americans need to trust the integrity of our elections systems. We cannot allow the public's trust in our government to deteriorate," said Secretary Gorbea. "As we look to November and beyond, investments in the security of our elections along with sound elections administration are critical to maintaining faith in our government.
For more information related to elections and voting in Rhode Island, please visit the Rhode Island Department of State's Elections Division online at vote.ri.gov or call (401) 222-2340.