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Navigating Security Concerns in the 2024 Presidential Election

Navigating Security Challenges in the 2024 Presidential Election

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As election officials gear up for the 2024 presidential election, many security challenges loom. This article delves into the persisting concerns from past elections and the emergent threats that have surfaced since 2020, shedding light on the complex landscape election officials must navigate.

Ongoing Concerns

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Key concerns persist, including the potential for cyberattacks on voter registration systems and websites reporting unofficial results. Threats extend to equipment malfunctions and human errors that adversaries might exploit to undermine public confidence in the election outcome.

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New Risks Since 2020

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Claims of widespread fraud, mainly brought forth by former President Donald Trump and his allies, have introduced new risks. Death threats against election workers and breaches of voting equipment pose fresh challenges, prompting states to modify voting laws and penalties for rule violations.

Impact on Election Staff

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The tumultuous environment has led to a wave of retirements and resignations among election staff, creating a knowledge vacuum in some local election offices. The potential for a challenging year ahead is heightened by Trump’s warning of another “rigged election” in 2024.

Foreign Interference

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National security experts have long warned about foreign interference, with Russia, China, and Iran identified as potential actors seeking to undermine the U.S. Iran, China, and Russia have been linked to hacking attempts on election infrastructure, raising concerns about the 2024 election’s integrity.

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Microsoft’s Warning

Redmond, United States. February 25, 2021. Editorial Use Only, 3D CGI. Microsoft Corporation Holding Signage Logo on Top of Glass Building. Workplace of Technology Internet Company Office Headquarter. — Photo by askarimullin

Microsoft’s November threat assessment warns that the 2024 election could see multiple authoritarian actors simultaneously attempting to interfere and influence its outcome. Russia, in particular, is considered a significant threat, viewing the election as pivotal in its geopolitical battles, such as the conflict with Ukraine.

State-level Preparedness

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State officials, such as Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, emphasize the need for heightened preparedness. They argue that Foreign adversaries now have a greater incentive to interfere, necessitating a clear understanding of the challenges and collective efforts to safeguard elections.

Conspiracy Theories

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Conspiracy theories related to voting technology and claims of manipulation persist. Election integrity groups call for a federal investigation into voting system breaches and the distribution of proprietary software among Trump allies, seeking accountability.

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Technical Failures

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Experts express concerns about technical failures, exemplified by incidents like the flipping of votes in a Pennsylvania judicial race. False election claims have made it challenging to distinguish valid criticisms, emphasizing the need for ongoing improvements in the election system.

Progress Since 2016

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Since 2016 several improvements have been made that include; the replacement of outdated voting machines with paper records, enhancement of security around voting machines and tabulators, and the addition of election systems to critical infrastructure. This is an indication of major progress.

Challenges and Awareness

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Despite progress, turnover in local election offices has diminished institutional knowledge. Many officials need to be made aware of services offered by CISA, highlighting the ongoing need for awareness and training. Staffing challenges persist, particularly in rural areas.

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Need for Improvement

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As election officials grapple with evolving security challenges, the charged environment surrounding U.S. elections underscores the importance of continuous improvement. Mitigating risks, enhancing awareness, and fostering public confidence remain imperative as the nation approaches the critical 2024 presidential election.

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