A top election security official reiterated Friday that the Department of Homeland Security and its cyber arm do not print or audit ballots, debunking unverified reports circulating online claiming the agency detected millions of counterfeit ballots while monitoring results.
“Contrary to #disinfo floating around, CISA doesn’t print or audit ballots! We offer cyber support to state and local elex officials. Don’t fall for these efforts to confuse and undermine confidence in the election,” Chris Krebs, director of DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, tweeted.
Krebs linked to the agency’s “Rumor vs. Reality” page which states:
Reality: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) do not design or audit ballots, which are processes managed by state and local election officials.
Rumor: DHS or CISA printed paper ballots with security measures and is auditing results as a countermeasure against ballot counterfeiting.
The tweet from Krebs comes as officials continue to grapple with the flood of online disinformation in the wake of Election Day, including a variety of conspiracies about widespread fraud that have been embraced by President Donald Trump and many of his allies.
One of the false narratives that has picked up traction online in recent days claimed DHS identified a “staggering” amount of fraud identifiers on votes in support of former Vice President Joe Biden while reviewing millions of ballots coming from key states like Arizona and Michigan. The dubious online report cites a DHS press release that “is not public.”
Krebs made clear Friday that this is disinformation intended to undermine the democratic process. He also pointed out that “local election offices have security and detection measures in place that make it highly difficult to commit fraud through counterfeit ballots.”
“While the specific measures vary, in accordance with state and local election laws and practices, ballot security measures can include signature matching, information checks, barcodes, watermarks, and precise paper weights,” according to the DHS rumor page posted by Krebs.
“DHS and CISA operate in support of state and local election officials, and do not administer elections or handle ballots. CISA’s role in election security includes sharing information, such as cyber threat indicators, with state and local election officials, as well as providing technical cybersecurity services (e.g. vulnerability scanning) upon the request of those officials,” it says.