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Election Security is our number one priority.

Our right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. As the nonpartisan, official election source in the state of California, the California Secretary of State’s Office works around the clock to ensure every vote is safe and secure - that’s why the California Secretary of State’s Office established the Office of Election Cybersecurity.

Through the continuous investment in new tools, systems and infrastructure, the Office of Election Cybersecurity serves California with the sole purpose of keeping every Californian’s vote safe from online interference, especially the spread of mis- and disinformation. The Office of Election Cybersecurity works to make sure every Californian is equipped with the accurate information they need to vote and trust that their vote counts.

 

 
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Check out the ways California has invested in your protection!

Cyber threats to our elections are the new normal. California continues to take critical steps to implement safeguards to further secure our elections, including actively collaborating with multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies to ensure that Californians can register to vote, and vote, with confidence. Here’s how we’re safeguarding our elections:

 

Office of Election Cybersecurity
& Enterprise Risk Management

 
  • The California Legislature appropriated an unprecedented $3 million to combat misinformation and strengthen cybersecurity by establishing the Offices of Elections Cybersecurity and Enterprise Risk Management within the Secretary of State.
  • The Office of Election Cybersecurity has added staff, social media monitoring software and launched a first-ever public education campaign urging voters to be vigilant about misinformation on social media.
  • The Enterprise Risk Management Office coordinates efforts between the Secretary of State and local elections officials to enhance cyber attack prevention capabilities and establish improved cyber incident response.

Election Infrastructure

 
  • California has one of the most strenuous voting system testing and certification programs in the country
  • Any new voting systems in California must receive certification and undergo months of testing, including functional testing, source code review, red team security testing that involves experts trying to “break into” the voting system, and accessibility and volume testing.
  • Since 2016, we’ve conducted agency-wide security assessments and upgraded firewalls, servers, and rolled out additional 24/7 security monitoring tools.
  • California requires that every ballot must either be paper or have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail.
  • Elections officials conduct a manual audit of a random 1% of ballots to ensure vote count machines are accurate.

New Systems

 
  • The 2018-2019 state budget includes $134.3 million for counties to replace aging voting systems.
  • Fully leveraged by a dollar-for-dollar match from counties, this will result in $268.6 million toward improvements for election equipment.
  • California received $34 million from the Elections Assistance Commission as the final disbursement of money from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

Tips for Voters

 
  • Before sharing content on social media, PAUSE:
    • P - Pay attention. Any source that uses overly emotional language, suggests your vote doesn't matter, or questions the safety and security of our elections may have ulterior motives for doing so.
    • A - Ask questions. Why haven't I seen this source before? What does their wikipedia page say? Run a reverse image search on Google and see where the image came from.
    • U - Understand motives. Whereas your County Elections Office and Secretary of State's only motive is safe and secure elections, other organizations may have other goals in mind
    • S - Send possible misinformation to VoteSure@sos.ca.gov, the California Secretary of State's official misinformation email line so they can investigate
    • E - Expect to get accurate election information from your official, nonpartisan election source - your County Registrar or the California Secretary of State.
  • Remember, the primary goal of misinformation is to prevent Californians from casting their ballot and or diminish trust in our elections so the best defense to misinformation is to vote and trust that your vote will count.
 
 

 

Our Federal and Local Partners

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State of California Technology Agency
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