Election Security Initiative

By creating tangible, practical and impact driven solutions, this initiative aims to enhance the protection of elections and voting infrastructure for future democratic processes.

The Institute for Security and Technology (IST)’s Election Security Initiative aims to bridge the public and private sector’s leading experts to better understand the implications of disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks on critical election infrastructure, foreign interference, and the exploitation of emerging technologies on the upcoming election. By creating tangible, practical, and impact-driven solutions, this initiative aims to enhance the protection of elections and voting infrastructure for future democratic processes.

The evolution of technology and the use of active measures enables information operations to strike deeper and more efficiently into the heart of democratic systems. These operations target voters, political campaigns, and the very democratic institutions that seek to uphold free speech and freedom of information. Disinformation is not new. However, today’s digitized and networked reality allows for precise targeting of manipulated messaging, at scale, and with lightning speed. This new technology brings unprecedented levels of risk to election security and threatens the integrity of the electoral process.

To speak on the historical and current challenges of political warfare and disinformation and what is being done to address these threats, IST is excited to launch our Election Security Initiative by hosting a high-level event featuring Nell Thomas, the Chief Technology Officer for the Democratic National Committee (DNC); Thomas Rid, a renowned expert on disinformation and information technology and author of Active Measures; and Vera Zakem, Senior Technology and Policy Advisor for IST. Moderated by Mike McNerney, IST’s board chair, and the Chief Operating Officer of Arceo, this conversation will cover active measures, the history of information operations, the evolution of modern disinformation campaigns, and their implications for today’s election security.

Get Involved

To discuss future Election Security projects or participate in our public discussions on these issues, please contact Philip Reiner at i[email protected].

Related Work

IST has partnered with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to launch the joint project “Future Digital Threats to Democracy.” As IST CEO Philip Reiner emphasizes, “the risks of unanticipated, fundamentally destabilizing effects are too high for any one sector to go it alone. We need to bridge the policy and tech communities and IST is uniquely positioned to bring the innovators from across these communities to the table.” This project features a ten-part series from ​IST team members M. Nina Miller, Alexa Wehsener, and Vera Zakem to examine the potential impact of digital technologies on democratic institutions from 2020 to 2030.