Department of Homeland Security and Georgia Secretary of State Respond to Misleading News Reports about Georgia Elections

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the following statement in response to multiple news articles that inaccurately insinuated that Georgia’s elections were specifically targeted by foreign actors.

“As part of our ongoing support to state and local election officials, the Department of Homeland Security regularly shares information that would help them identify and manage risk to their systems. Leading up to the 2018 election, the department shared information with state officials providing details on types of risks to elections. These potential tactics are not specific to Georgia systems and could be applicable to elections across the United States. DHS is not aware of any specific targeting of Georgia’s or any state’s election infrastructure in 2018 attributable to a nation state. Election security is national security, and we are continuing to engage our election partners as part of a collaborative effort to protect the 2020 election,” said DHS spokesman Scott McConnell.

“This memo is standard information sharing and shows what all levels of government are doing to protect our elections,” said Secretary of State Director of Communication, Tess Hammock. “Cybersecurity has been a top priority for state and county local officials since well before the 2018 elections and remains a top priority going into 2020. DHS prepared a similar memo for every state. There is no evidence of any successful attempts to interfere in Georgia’s elections.”

As DHS’s comment makes clear, DHS was not aware of any specific targeting of Georgia’s elections. The memo that DHS shared with Georgia and that state officials then shared with county election officials was similar to memos prepared for every state and not indicative of any specific intelligence related to Georgia elections.