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State Board of Elections Establishes Advisory Review Workgroup, Expected to Adopt Cybersecurity Standards Soon

At its October 29 meeting, the State Board of Elections voted to establish a new Advisory Review Workgroup to assist the Board in carrying out its responsibilities. The Workgroup will consist of three members of the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia, three members of the Virginia Electoral Board Association, five citizen members, and two representatives of local government – one member of VACo who is recommended by the VACo President and one VML member recommended by the VML President. State Board members expressed particular interest in formally including representatives of local government, as funding partners in election administration. The workgroup will be tasked with studying and making recommendations to the Board on topics related to elections administration, as requested by the Board, and may also suggest issues for study to the Board. VACo expressed its appreciation to the Board for the inclusion of local government representation and reiterated its interest in working with the Board on the resource needs associated with elections administration.

By the end of the year, the Board is expected to adopt information technology security standards for the technology used by localities to connect to the state’s voter registration system, in accordance with legislation enacted in 2019 directing that these standards be established. At the request of VACo and VML, language was added to this legislation requiring the convening of a workgroup of local IT professionals to consult on the development of the standards and to develop general cost estimates for their implementation. This workgroup, representing IT professionals from a variety of larger and smaller jurisdictions, met throughout the summer to assist with the development of the proposed standards, which the Board will consider at an upcoming meeting. As a first step, localities have been asked to conduct two self-assessments by the end of the year to establish a baseline prior to developing their elections security plans. Further details about how the Department of Elections plans to work with localities to assist with compliance are expected to be provided after the adoption of the standards.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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