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West Virginia’s Continuity of Operations and Election Planning to be featured at national conference

Charleston, W. Va.  The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) will feature the West Virginia Secretary of State’s continuity of operations planning at its national conference this week. NASS leadership chose West Virginia’s plan due to Secretary of State Mac Warner’s assertive cybersecurity strategy, an approach that serves as a model across the United States.

WVSOS Chief Information Officer David Tackett will lead a presentation on election cybersecurity to state chief elections officers, all of whom are facing unprecedented security challenges. International bad actors, terrorists, ransomware thieves, and people spreading political disinformation are some of the threats Tackett will discuss. The presentation will take place Tuesday and will be moderated by Secretaries of State Paul Pate of Iowa and Jim Condos of Vermont.

Tackett’s presentation, “West Virginia Shared Practices: Protecting an Expanding Digital Footprint,” will feature West Virginia’s successful transition to a mostly remote workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the success is due to strategic planning to strengthen the entire office infrastructure in response to the increased threats stemming from the 2016 election and the designation of elections as “critical infrastructure” from the Department of Homeland Security.  

“While election security was the impetus behind the Secretary of State’s Office advancing our strategic continuity of operations plans, the outcome drew a focus on the entire office, our staff, and how we interact with customers online, on the phone and in-person,” Tackett said. “The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office’s anticipatory reaction to vulnerabilities during the 2016 election is a great study of successful continuity of operations planning for an entire agency that can be accomplished in a short amount of time.”

Tackett is highly regarded in the national election cybersecurity arena and regularly consulted by fellow information officers. Tackett’s presentation will address office cyber policy, mapping operations, offsite staffing resources, preparing and investing in infrastructure, communicating with agency partners, and lessons learned from the 2016 and 2018 elections.  

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