DHS Agrees to Release Documents About Election Cybersecurity to EPIC
November 27, 2019
EPIC and DHS have filed a joint status report in EPIC v. DHS. The federal agency has agreed to reprocess previously withheld documents about election security. EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2017, immediately after the agency's decision to designate election systems as "critical infrastructure." The announcement followed the determination that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The designation also gave the DHS new responsibilities to help protect state election systems. Over the course of litigation, DHS has provided hundreds of pages to EPIC about the agency's role in election system security. But the agency has also withheld information sought by EPIC, including: (1) documents concerning contacts between DHS and State Election Officials, (2) Election Task Force meeting minutes, (3) documents about risk characterizations and analysis reports on Russian interference; and (4) incident reports and vulnerabilities in election systems. Because the 2020 election is fast approaching, EPIC sought the prompt release of these records so that Congress and the public could assess the effectiveness of the DHS security program. The recent court filing between EPIC and the DHS should move the process forward. The case is EPIC v. DHS, 17-2047 (D.D.C).