What are the gravest threats to the security and integrity of U.S. elections? Over the past decade, the answer to that question has evolved. In addition to foreign cyberattacks and influence campaigns, dangers such as intimidation of election workers and conspiracy theorists assuming election administration positions now put U.S. democracy at risk. In the lead-up to the next presidential election, the United States must adjust to this changed landscape and ensure that the democratic process is protected when the nation goes to the polls.
In 2016, Russian cyberattacks on election infrastructure highlighted the need to strengthen the resilience of U.S. election systems. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated election systems as critical infrastructure, footnote1_2dj08ba1 and federal, state, and local officials worked together to reinforce them against cyberattacks. New threats, largely stemming from amplified efforts to fuel distrust in U.S. elections via the spread of election falsehoods, must be met with the same urgency.