HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Secretary of State’s Office joined county election administrators and officials in a Montana Elections virtual tabletop exercise last week in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Representatives from the SOS Office and all 56 Montana counties were invited to participate in the exercise, which is part of an ongoing effort to advance election security preparedness in Montana and across the country.
State and local election officials discussed best practices in response to hypothetical scenarios involving cybersecurity and other election-related occurrences. Attendees ran through the scenarios in various stages, including planning, preparation, identification, response, and recovery.
Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen praised state and local election officials for their continued dedication to conducting safe and secure elections in Montana.
“Thank you to our election officials for participating in important events like this tabletop exercise,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “Their participation is essential in developing awareness and preparedness regarding election security. Montana’s election officials are committed to providing safe, secure, and transparent elections for our Montana voters.”
“Fair and free elections are a hallmark of American democracy. CISA is committed to working collaboratively with those on the front lines of elections – state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and vendors – to manage risks to the nation’s election infrastructure,” said Shawn Graff, CISA Regional Director for Region 8, which includes Montana. “Tabletop exercises are an important part of maintaining the security of our national infrastructure, as they help our partners build muscle memory and review their incident response plans against a wide range of potential scenarios, including physical security and cybersecurity incidents.”
The tabletop collaboration brought together county election officials, local law enforcement, emergency management, county IT, Montana Secretary of State, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services, Montana Association of Counties, Montana Department of Administration, Montana Department of Justice – Investigation Bureau’s Montana Analysis and Technical Information Center, and Election Systems and Software in addition to CISA.