Voters must have faith that the systems they use to both register and vote can be trusted, that their personal information is protected, and that their ballot is secure and counted accurately. Most of all, voters must believe that the information they receive about the election is fair and accurate.
Election security refers to both physical and cybersecurity; physical protection of assets and systems that hold data, and the methods of protecting data and other information that is shared and stored electronically. Election security must also include quick and effective recovery of systems to enable voting to continue, should efforts at prevention be unsuccessful or should systems become non-responsive due to power outages.
Read more below on what individuals can do to be more aware, what the County of Santa Clara does to increase cyber and physical security, and what our State and Federal partners are working on to further protect elections. We’ve developed a Glossary of Election Terms and Acronyms that you may find helpful as you explore our site.
What can I do?
Everyone can take steps to increase their own awareness and protections when it comes to information we find and what we share. With so much on the internet that may not be factual, by sharing we can also increase the spread of misinformation.
It is our goal to provide ideas on how you can take action to increase your own cyber awareness and help stop the spread of disinformation. We also hope to provide information and facts on how you can protect your own voter registration and understand how to be sure your ballot is counted.
Have more questions about election security and how you can be more aware and mindful about elections?
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions About Election Security and Administration where you can read through or link to a variety of topics that may help answer questions you have about voting.
- Voter Registration
- Vote by Mail
- What the County is Doing to Protect Elections
- Security and Access to Data Maintained by the ROV
- Voting System Security
What are elections officials doing to protect our elections?
County of Santa Clara
The County of Santa Clara has recently assessed levels of physical and cyber protections and have put procedures in place to detect and prevent unauthorized access to the County’s systems. The Registrar of Voters has taken critical steps to protect voter information and elections, such as working with our state and federal partners to share information that can increase our knowledge and protection, investing in newer voting technologies that have stronger security and verification features, and training staff and election workers on how to recognize and report suspicious activity.
While we cannot compromise any security efforts we have in place, we can provide some information that you may be interesting in learning about election security and how your vote is protected.
Our State and Federal Partners
The California Legislature created the offices of Elections Cybersecurity and Enterprise Risk Management within the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) to combat misinformation and strengthen cybersecurity in California. Through their assistance and training programs, risks to our elections are reduced reaching a higher standard of integrity at the state and local level. The SOS has developed a short video for voters that can help explain the security California’s elections.
The SOS is responsible for oversight of certain aspects of state elections, but the key operations and activities are happening at the county level and overseen by your county’s Registrar of Voters or County Clerk.
What is the benefit of having county elections officials conduct their own election programs? This means there is no single point of access into California’s election system.
The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was formed to assist all states in the nation conduct fair and accurate elections. They are guided by the Help America Vote Act and the Voting Rights Act, two very key laws. The EAC has developed a short video that can help explain the security of our nations elections. You can also visit the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, and follow them across social media under “CISAgov” to find out what is happening around the nation to protect our elections.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for securing our nation against many threats, including cyber threats. Election Security is a key topic of the DHS, with three sub-agencies to work with states and local governments to further secure our physical and cyber elections infrastructure - the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC).
What is the benefit to having states design and oversee their own election programs? This means there is no single point of access into our Nation’s election system.