Last week, Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea was once again named to a national election security leadership role. It was announced last Thursday that Gorbea was elected by members of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) to serve on the group’s executive committee. The announcement was made during the group’s quarterly call.

Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, EI-ISAC was established to protect the nation’s voting infrastructure. The group is a collaborative effort that provides state, local, and territorial election offices with an election-focused cyber defense suite. 

EI-ISAC works to gather information on cyber threats and shares information to identify, prevent, respond and recover from attacks on election systems.

According to EI-ISAC, the group was established as a “critical resource for cyber threat prevention, protection, response and recovery for the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal (SLTT) election offices.” The EI-ISAC is also operated by the Center for Internet Security, Inc.

“The mission of the EI-ISAC is to improve the overall cybersecurity posture of SLTT election offices, through collaboration and information sharing among members, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal partners, and private sector partners are the keys to success,” the Center for Internet Security’s website states. “The EI-ISAC provides a central resource for gathering information on cyber threats to election infrastructure and two-way sharing of information between and among public and private sectors in order to identify, protect, detect, respond and recover from attacks on public and private election infrastructure.”

The EI-ISAC provides an election-focused cyber defense through a 24-hour watch and warning center, real-time network monitoring, dissemination of early cyber threat warnings, vulnerability identification and mitigation. They are also responsible for providing education and outreach aimed at reducing risk to the nation’s election cyber domain, according to the Center for Internet Security. 

Comprised of representatives from SLTT election offices and contractors supporting election infrastructure, the EI-ISAC has built “a trusted environment between and among our nation’s election offices” by providing valuable information and lessons learned on cyber threats, mitigation and consequences, as well as “direct assistance with responding to and recovering from cyber attacks and compromises.”

Gorbea said that maintaining election security required ongoing commitment, which she said she and other members of EI-ISAC would be committing to. 

“Building and maintaining a secure elections infrastructure is vital to the health of our democracy,” Gorbea said. “Doing so requires an ongoing commitment on all levels of our government. I’m honored and excited to continue working with my fellow EI-ISAC members to assess and improve our country’s election systems.”

Gorbea was also elected to the executive committee last year for a one-year term. Her upcoming term will begin May 1 of this year and will last two years. 

The job of the executive committee is to vote on matters brought to its attention; developing policies and procedures for the operations of the EI-ISAC as necessary, including identifying the scope of services provided by the EI-ISAC; and advising the director on strategic direction of the EI-ISAC, among other responsibilities. 

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