We are pleased to announce the release of the OSET Institute’s Critical Democracy Infrastructure (CDI) Briefing.  It’s been over a year in development.  Early review by several in Government, Media, and Advisors tell us this may be the most important publication on the issue of election infrastructure yet.  We humbly hope so.

Our new Briefing provides a thorough review of the technology infrastructure of election administration and operation.  We address its critical nature and what is required for it to be treated as such, and assess the challenges of official designation, as well as the immediate and longer-term challenges to protecting this vital aspect of our democracy.

The comprehensive Briefing is 70-plus pages, so if you’re moving fast, we suggest reading the Foreword, which is provided by William Crowell, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency. Then read the Executive Summary and Section 5.  All of that should be about a 10-minute read, but we think you’ll want to read the balance of the Briefing in the near future given current conversation, debate and initiatives.

Download Briefing

The development of this Briefing benefited in large part from the conversations, exchanges, and interactions with over 100 election experts and officials over the course of a year.  We make several key findings and recommendations, and discuss two critical situations largely overlooked to date:

  • U.S. election infrastructure relies on an un-trusted supply chain for components and parts; and
  • There is a fundamental design flaw in the underlying architecture of voting systems.

There have been a number of helpful and important reports and white papers produced recently about America’s election security.  But as Mr. Crowell observed,

This Briefing not only informs the nation that this extraordinarily important issue is being addressed in a broad way, but it is equally important that any study of the election infrastructure and its security be presented in a way that is understandable to a majority of the public.  I think that you have achieved both of those goals.  If the public only reads the Executive Summary, they will gain a greater understanding of the underlying problems, and why this is such an important national security issue.”

Our Briefing is intended as an educational resource on the technology challenges, with a minimum of techno-babble.  While we offer recommendations, the Briefing is not intended to be a policy strategy, although it is intended to inform those discussions. 

Election security is on the top of everyone’s mind, and as bipartisan initiatives are surfacing (e.g., Graham-Klobuchar Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act), this Briefing strives to provide the most up-to-date information on election infrastructure.