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DHS Says Election Systems "Critical Infrastructure," Making Federal Takeover Possible
The New American ^ | 10 January 2017 | Michael Tennant

Posted on 01/10/2017 9:58:19 AM PST by VitacoreVision

On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared the nation’s electoral systems “critical infrastructure,” potentially giving the federal government control over the electoral process, traditionally — and constitutionally — a function of state and local governments.

“Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson (shown) said in a press release announcing his decision.

Johnson made the designation pursuant to a 2013 presidential directive, which identified 16 critical sectors, such as energy, financial services, and healthcare, that DHS is required to help protect. According to the Associated Press, “The designation announced Friday places responsibilities on the Homeland Security secretary to identify and prioritize those sectors, considering physical and cyber threats against them. The secretary is also required to conduct security checks and provide information about emerging and imminent threats.”

The Homeland Security chief said the designation would enable DHS “to prioritize our cybersecurity assistance to state and local election officials” and make “clear both domestically and internationally that election infrastructure enjoys all the benefits and protections of critical infrastructure that the U.S. government has to offer.”

Johnson first floated the idea of making the designation in August, when there were few credible claims, let alone actual evidence, of any tampering with voting systems or elections offices. At that time, many state officials expressed skepticism that federal assistance was needed and argued that putting their electoral systems on DHS’s radar could lead to a federal takeover of all elections.

Perhaps the most prominent critic of the “critical infrastructure” designation is Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican. In August, Politico reported:

During an earlier interview with the site Nextgov, Kemp warned: “The question remains whether the federal government will subvert the Constitution to achieve the goal of federalizing elections under the guise of security.” Kemp told POLITICO he sees a “clear motivation from this White House” to expand federal control, citing Obama’s health care law, the Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation and the increased role of the Education Department in local schools.

Democratic secretaries of state told Politico they, too, were concerned about Johnson’s plan. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos called it “the nose under the tent.” His counterpart in Connecticut, Denise Merrill, noted that the DHS designation might well lead to “federal intervention that would not recognize differences among the states.”

Johnson’s Friday announcement coincided with the release of a report from the intelligence community claiming — still without offering any evidence — that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a hacking campaign against Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton. Undoubtedly the Obama administration expected the report to bolster Johnson’s assertion that his designation was needed “now more than ever,” and indeed most news reports have tied the two together; yet notably, the intelligence report plainly stated that Russia had no involvement in “vote tallying.”

That fact was noted by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), which said in a statement opposing Johnson’s action, “No credible evidence of hacking, including attempted hacking of voting machines or vote counting, was ever presented or discovered in any state.” Johnson’s classification of elections systems as critical infrastructure “is legally and historically unprecedented,” the group said, “raising many questions and concerns for states and localities with authority over the administration of our voting process.”

The secretaries have good reason to be concerned. In his announcement, Johnson said “election infrastructure” means “storage facilities, polling places, and centralized vote tabulations locations used to support the election process, and information and communications technology to include voter registration databases, voting machines, and other systems to manage the election process and report and display results on behalf of state and local governments” — in short, anything and everything involved in the electoral process. While Johnson claimed that his designation “does not mean a federal takeover, regulation, oversight or intrusion concerning elections in this country” and federal assistance would only be offered at the request of state and local election officials, Kemp told Politico in August that the current legal definition of “critical infrastructure” “would allow the Department of Homeland Security or anybody else to come in and get into our systems.” (DHS seems to be trying to do that already, having repeatedly attempted to hack into Georgia’s voter-registration database.) Furthermore, as the AP reported, Johnson’s “designation allows for information to be withheld from the public when state, local and private partners meet to discuss election infrastructure security — potentially injecting secrecy into an election process that’s traditionally and expressly a transparent process.”

NASS also points out that far from improving cybersecurity, centralizing electoral affairs in Washington would actually have the opposite effect. Currently there are about 10,000 separate state and local jurisdictions involved in the electoral process, and their electronic voting machines are not connected to the Internet. Hackers might be able to infect some of the machines in some of the states, but it is unlikely that they could conduct such a campaign on a nationwide basis.

Moreover, giving the DHS some measure of control over the electoral process could well open the entire process up to executive branch manipulation, former Federal Election Commission member Hans von Spakovsky warned in an August column. “Designating the nation’s election system as ‘critical infrastructure’ under a post 9/11 federal statute,” he wrote, “may be a way for the administration to get Justice Department lawyers, the FBI, and DHS staff into polling places they would otherwise have no legal right to access, which would enable them to interfere with election administration procedures around the country.”

At least one prominent lawmaker had kind words for Johnson’s Friday announcement. “In the long term, this will put our electoral systems on a more secure footing and maintain public confidence in our elections,” said Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. “I commend Secretary Johnson for making this important decision.”

Kemp, however, remained staunchly opposed to it. “This action is a federal overreach into a sphere constitutionally reserved for the states,” he told Politico in a statement. Saying it “smacks of partisan politics,” he called on the incoming administration of Donald Trump to reconsider the decision. Kemp has also asked Trump to investigate DHS’s attacks on his office’s computer systems.

“Election infrastructure,” Johnson said, “is vital to our national interests.” If so, why, then, should Americans entrust it to people who are busily engaged in the very activity from which they claim to want to protect us?


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: electionhacking; elections; federaltakeover; trump
The Department of Homeland Security declared U.S. electoral systems “critical infrastructure,” potentially giving the federal government control over the electoral process. by Michael Tennant
1 posted on 01/10/2017 9:58:19 AM PST by VitacoreVision
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To: VitacoreVision

Someone should remind the DHS that we, the people, have way more guns than the entire fed, including the military, and we also have way more combat vets than the current active duty military.

Keep pushing, numbnuts.


2 posted on 01/10/2017 10:01:56 AM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: VitacoreVision

These idiots keep talking nonsense and identifying themselves as who they are. Have a nice week and a half, baby. Your time is up soon.


3 posted on 01/10/2017 10:05:04 AM PST by snarkytart
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To: VitacoreVision

If the Dems think it is critical infrastructure then the Reps should acknowledge that by requiring positive voter ID for national elections.


4 posted on 01/10/2017 10:07:30 AM PST by charleywhiskey
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To: Grimmy
Keep pushing, numbnuts.

Of course they'll keep pushing, because they know we ain't gonna do a damn thing about it. Having more guns and more combat veterans than active duty and five bucks will get ya a cup of coffee, so long as we have mortgages to pay, car payments to make, health insurance to buy, a wife and kids to feed and booze to drink while watching the big game on our big screen TV.

I once had high hopes for the likes of the "Oathkeepers" and "3%" organizations. Unfortunately, after seeing obunghole allowed to stay in office despite the clear & direct attack on the Constitution's 'Natural Citizen' requirement, I realize no one, no where is gonna 'get froggy' over any destruction of our rights.

Instead, we're all working hard at becoming frog soup.

5 posted on 01/10/2017 10:14:12 AM PST by dware (I love waking up in a world with President-elect Trump!)
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To: charleywhiskey

Its called Real ID coming soon to a state near you. Already required in some states to fly.


6 posted on 01/10/2017 10:15:18 AM PST by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
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To: VitacoreVision
Nationalizing the elections.

This can't end well.

7 posted on 01/10/2017 10:20:13 AM PST by Ciaphas Cain (The choice to be stupid is not a conviction I am obligated to respect.)
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To: PIF

If we had fair and trustworthy elections i.e. no voter fraud. The democRATS would lose every time.


8 posted on 01/10/2017 10:20:58 AM PST by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal the 16th Amendment)
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To: unixfox

And if someone propose a national voterb ID law the dems would be screaming about states rights


9 posted on 01/10/2017 10:24:46 AM PST by bigbob (We have better coverage than Verizon - Can You Hear Us Now?)
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To: VitacoreVision

Obama and his Obamnabots are trying to finish the destruction of America in Obama’s last two weeks.

It is our good luck that they twiddled away most of the last eight years on the golf course, wallowing in the homo bath houses, getting stoned in
the White House, running Pay-For-Play scams, hustling money at elitist fund raisers, and taking million dollar vacations on the taxpayers dime.

If they had really worked hard at their radical leftist agenda in that time they would have caused a lot more damage and suffering.


10 posted on 01/10/2017 10:26:26 AM PST by Iron Munro (If Illegals voted Rebublican 50 Million Democrats Would Be Screaming "Build The Wall!")
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To: VitacoreVision

If Trump orders DHS to mandate voter ID, how fast would the Dems move to introduce a bill to revoke DHS’s authority?


11 posted on 01/10/2017 10:32:18 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (Big government is attractive to those who think that THEY will be in control of it.)
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To: dware; SkyPilot

Demoralization helps set the stage for the Antichrist. Obama has done quite an impression of him. What is creepy is how easily 1/2 of America bought in. And parts of the world too. I once had high hopes for the short term. The professional liars from Hollywood and Congress show they never stop with the lies. Ever.


12 posted on 01/10/2017 10:44:51 AM PST by SaveFerris (Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for ... some have unwittingly entertained angels)
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To: VitacoreVision

Jeh Johnson.... a major part of the obama fail machine.... illegals flooding the country along with thousands of muslim infiltrators ... est 10-15% of illegals are muslims... thanks Jeh.... great job... illegals voting, illegals on medicare.... illegals sucking taxpayer dollars from welfare to hospitalization to schools... part of the race based obama politcal operation... jsut another fail...


13 posted on 01/10/2017 11:10:36 AM PST by zzwhale
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To: dware; RushIsMyTeddyBear; metmom; CynicalBear; SkyPilot; tuffydoodle; tang-soo; righttackle44; ...
[so long as we have mortgages to pay, car payments to make, health insurance to buy, a wife and kids to feed and booze to drink while watching the big game on our big screen TV]

Which was to say, I agree with your statement pretty much 100%. I've watched too many Americans shrug their shoulders and blow off "conspiracy theories" while Obama and co. work at destroying this country. Much damage has been done. What you described can be categorized into "the cares of this life" because they occupy so much of our time; in the case of Americans (like myself) moreso, especially since 2008. Since it's Jesus, words in red.

Luke 21:34 King James Version (KJV)

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
14 posted on 01/10/2017 11:16:06 AM PST by SaveFerris (Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for ... some have unwittingly entertained angels)
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To: dware
I realize no one, no where is gonna 'get froggy' over any destruction of our rights.

Age brings wisdom.

15 posted on 01/10/2017 11:20:54 AM PST by itsahoot (Three words I don't want to hear, Comprehensive Immigration Reform.)
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To: VitacoreVision

Ten days.


16 posted on 01/10/2017 11:29:48 AM PST by rightwingcrazy
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To: SaveFerris
What you described can be categorized into "the cares of this life" because they occupy so much of our time; in the case of Americans (like myself) moreso, especially since 2008.

For some reason, we act like we have so much more to lose than the Founders did, but they too had homes, families, jobs, plantations, wealth and more. They gave it all up to form a new Country. We can't even give up one day of it to attend a protest.

17 posted on 01/10/2017 12:24:39 PM PST by dware (I love waking up in a world with President-elect Trump!)
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To: dware; null and void

As I’ve watched decent jobs fade like Chevy Monzas I watch in astonishment how Americans snap up $40,000 and $50,000 vehicles like apples. I couldn’t even dream of being able to even afford the sales tax or property tax (wish I was back in Texas) on such vehicles. The last new car I purchased was in the late 1990’s.

I hope we bought some time with Trump. Those huge debts are still looming and growing. I saw 2008 coming 2 years beforehand and was blown off by pretty much everybody. I learned it the hard way, more than a couple of ways. And it was worse than I, the oft-tinfoiler (ha), had thought.

I was very, very concerned when I learned how much Bush was borrowing from the Chinese to finance nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq. I had been too focused on work, “the cares of this life” and the dangers of islamic terrorism (which has only gotten worse).

We live in “interesting times”.


18 posted on 01/10/2017 12:32:41 PM PST by SaveFerris (Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for ... some have unwittingly entertained angels)
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To: VitacoreVision

If every vote were checked against the social security system and then double checked to make sure that no vote was double counted—most fraud would end.

The dems would be in trouble.

The dems could not get 3 million extra votes out of california, and millions of extra votes out of big cities they have a hammer lock on.


19 posted on 01/10/2017 2:05:44 PM PST by ckilmer (q e)
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To: VitacoreVision

If every vote were checked against the social security system and then double checked to make sure that no vote was double counted—most fraud would end.

The dems would be in trouble.

The dems could not get 3 million extra votes out of california, and millions of extra votes out of big cities they have a hammer lock on.


20 posted on 01/10/2017 2:35:39 PM PST by ckilmer (q e)
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To: VitacoreVision

If every vote were checked against the social security system and then double checked to make sure that no vote was double counted—most fraud would end.

The dems would be in trouble.

The dems could not get 3 million extra votes out of california, and millions of extra votes out of big cities they have a hammer lock on.


21 posted on 01/10/2017 2:35:40 PM PST by ckilmer (q e)
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To: VitacoreVision
I've seen how the Critical Infrastructure designation works in an industrial application if it. The energy industry falls under the CI umbrella. A Louisiana facility that handles much of the crude oil piped from the Gulf of Mexico was a client of mine before and after Katrina. Security and priority of materials and repair workers were implemented by the Feds to get the facility back on line. On the security side, a few days after Katrina, Governor Blanco was tooling around in a helicopter inspecting damage. While in the air, the copter advised the facility via radio they were landing to inspect the facility. Homeland security that was on site refused her landing permission and I guess the refusal was in strong enough terms that by gosh they didn't land.

This was heavy handed but probably appropriate in the disaster situation. The were material spills, random hazardous situations and PO'd alligators all over the place. However, I absolutely believe that the Feds have no constitutional right to be involved in voting administration. States can and should tell the Feds to pound sand.

22 posted on 01/10/2017 2:59:15 PM PST by Hootowl99
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To: dware

I’ve been saying exactly the same thing as you for at least a full decade now.

I’m trying very hard to find something to refute in what you said.

Nope. Can’t find anything I can honestly disagree with.

Sucks to be us, but it is all our own fault for limiting ourselves to the role of whiney victim for so long it’s become a cultural imperative.


23 posted on 01/10/2017 5:41:07 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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