DHS rolls out effort to combat election disinformation, urges 'patience' on results

The department is warning Americans about results being delayed due to COVID-19.

October 20, 2020, 6:21 PM

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, said on Tuesday that it's rolling out a website designed to debunk disinformation tactics aimed at voters in the buildup to Election Day.

One such example cited by the CISA is that if reporting sites suffer an outage on election night, vote totals will be lost or manipulated, which is false, DHS said. Cyber disruptions won't change vote totals.

"Anticipating attempts along these lines, CISA and the FBI recently released a series of Public Service Announcements describing some of the tactics the bad guys might use, the security measures in place to stop them and the steps you can take to spot -- and stop -- foreign influence," CISA Director Chris Krebs said in a statement.

PHOTO: Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, attends the Conference of Mayors 88th Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton, in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2020.
Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, attends the Conference of Mayors 88th Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton, in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2020.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

At a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, Krebs said that no foreign country has changed a vote thus far.

"We have not seen any adversary, anyone with that sort of capability -- to be able to change a vote in the outcome of the election at the national scale is incredibly difficult to accomplish," Krebs explained.

At that same briefing, the No. 2 at DHS, Ken Cuccinelli, urged patience when it comes to vote counting.

"There is very good chance that we will not know the winner of the presidential election, for instance, on election night itself," the acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security said. "And that's not because something isn't working. It's because of the additional security measures in place and the additional process time because of the changed way people are voting due to COVID."

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