Homeland Security's biggest election concern is what comes after you vote
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the midterms will be the “most secure election we've ever had.” It's the appearance of discord the day after that worries her.
by Alfred Ng
The biggest concern for election security isn't about Election Day -- it's about the day after, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.
"My biggest concern is that a foreign entity will take the opportunity after the election, or the night of the election, to attempt to sow discord through social media by suggesting that something's not working as it should in a particular area," Nielsen said Friday morning at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York.
The conversation with Nielsen about comes just four days before Election Day and amid major DHS efforts to protect the US elections from foreign interference.
That includes assisting election officials in all 50 states, creating its own center to protect critical infrastructure, and attending Defcon to learn about voting machine flaws. While DHS is working to protect the machines and make sure voting officials are prepared, it's that wave of disinformation on social media that'll follow the election that Nielsen's most worried about.
To address that, she's done exercises with election officials on the most legitimate ways to report results from races. But it's not clear how effective that will be. While Homeland Security can provide protection for machines and prep voting officials, stopping lies from spreading on social media is an entirely different beast.