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Ashcroft preparing Missouri’s election defenses

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is working with national, state and local leaders to bolster the state’s defenses in the lead up to the Nov. 3 general election.

“With a momentous presidential election fast approaching, we are strengthening our defenses against the serious threats of cyberattacks, foreign interference and disinformation campaigns,” Ashcroft said. “Our office is working hand-in-hand with federal, state and local officials to safeguard the integrity of Missouri’s elections.”

On election night and days leading up to it, the Secretary of State’s Office will join officials from the Department of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Council, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, along with state partners from the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Administration’s Information Technology Services Division. The collective team of federal and state officials acts as a firewall, monitoring and assessing potential threats and sharing accurate information with federal, state and local leaders.

The Secretary of State’s Office maintains contact with the state’s fusion centers, including the Missouri Information Analysis Center, which serves as an information sharing and analysis hub for the entire state. The office also works with the Multi-State Information and Analysis Center and the Elections Infrastructure Information and Analysis Center.

“We have developed strong working relationships with federal and state authorities and have collaborated with them on a number of exercises aimed at strengthening Missouri’s election defenses,” Ashcroft said. “We’ve also used federal funds to assist Missouri’s election authorities in evaluating and improving their security.”

Since 2018, the Secretary of State’s Office has obtained federal grants of more than $15 million through the Help America Vote Act. Since then, the office has used the funds to help local election authorities improve both their physical and cyber security.

While federal, state and local officials are taking steps to monitor and improve election security, some cyberattacks target Missouri voters directly. Security experts recommend voters take precautions by being careful what links they click, going to trusted sources for election information, and verifying the sources of news and information shared from media outlets or social media platforms.

The Secretary of State’s website stands as a reliable source for trusted election information. It also details some of the state’s election security practices that help ensure the safety of Missouri’s elections.

“We’ve been working hard to maintain the integrity of our systems,” Ashcroft said. “We’re proud to carry on that hard work so that Missourians can continue to be confident in their elections.”