In an act of unification, both Republican and Democrat Secretaries of State from all fifty states are calling on the Trump administration to undo Obama’s executive order labeling state election systems as “critical infrastructure.”
Earlier this January, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson shocked and outraged state election officials with his unprecedented announcement. Their universal fear is that this will become a takeover of of state-run elections by the federal government.
The Obama administration attempted to highlight this action as a way to counter the Russian hacking issue, but many state officials are not buying it. One person in particular who is against Johnson’s decision is incoming DHS Secretary John Kelly, who wrote a response to the decision:
“The notion that DHS can or should exercise some degree of influence over state voting systems is highly controversial and appears to be a political question beyond the scope of DHS’ current legislative cyber mandates.”
National Association of Secretaries of State President Denise Merrill is also in opposition to the move. “I haven’t heard one Secretary of State — Democrat or Republican — that’s for this,” Merrill said, who is a Democrat.
She further states: “Suddenly, it was decided that they were going ahead with it and we didn’t get any notice and read about it in the paper. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some concern about it. It’s not a particularly partisan issue at this point.”
“This something that came out of the blue,” noted Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. “They had never talked to any Secretaries of State or election officials around the country before the whole critical infrastructure designation came up. We were literally blindsided by this.”
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