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Nebraska Wins National Award for Election Innovation

EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. and LINCOLN, Neb., July 18, 2019 – Nebraska Secretary of State Robert Evnen recently informed the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC®) staff that his office was the recipient of the inaugural Innovators Award presented by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED). The presentation of the award was made to Deputy Secretary Wayne Bena on behalf of Secretary Evnen during the summer NASED conference in Austin, Texas, July 14, 2019.

“This award shows our commitment and the commitment of our partners to lead in election security for 2020 and beyond in Nebraska,” said Secretary Evnen.

This Innovators Award was a result of a collaboration between the Secretary of State’s office, Nebraska’s voter registration database vendor Election Systems and Software (ES&S), and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC). The EI-ISAC is contracted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide cybersecurity resources for elections.

Secretary Evnen stated, “The award marks achievements for innovation in election security highlighting technologies, partnerships and practices.” Secretary Evnen continued, “This collaboration resulted in the first Albert sensor having been being placed in the voter registration environment at a private elections vendor.”

An Albert sensor is an intrusion detection device that will help detect suspicious activity in Nebraska’s voter registration system. It alerts the Secretary of State’s office to real-time threats to the voter registration system.

“Nebraska paved the way for states to deploy Albert sensors to election vendors. Their work with their vendor, DHS, and the EI-ISAC to implement a virtual Albert sensor is a prime example of the kinds of collaboration that state election officials are undertaking to secure our elections,” said Keith Ingram, President, National Association of State Election Directors and Director of Elections, Texas Secretary of State. “NASED is proud to present them with our inaugural Innovators Award – they set the bar high, and we applaud them for their achievement.”

The Albert sensor is federally funded and supported through the Center for Internet Security, Inc. (CIS®). CIS is home to the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC). To date, Nebraska’s approach to this technology has been replicated in four states and territories that use the same voter registration system.

"The Albert sensor installation in Nebraska is a great example of how partnerships among state governments, federal agencies and private entities can further the integrity of our nation's democracy,” said Tom Burt, ES&S CEO and president. “We are glad to see the State of Nebraska recognized for this innovative work."

“The EI-ISAC congratulates Nebraska on receiving the inaugural NASED Innovators Award. We are proud to have contributed to this team effort along with ES&S. Using virtualization to support multiple jurisdictions at a vendor site laid the groundwork for future Albert enhancements that will help improve the ability of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to secure their networks in local, hosted, and cloud environments,” said Ben Spear, Director of the EI-ISAC.

About CIS

CIS (Center for Internet Security, Inc.) is a forward-thinking, non-profit entity that harnesses the power of a global IT community to safeguard private and public organizations against cyber threats. The CIS Controls® and CIS Benchmarks are the global standard and recognized best practices for securing IT systems and data against the most pervasive attacks. These proven guidelines are continuously refined and verified by a volunteer, global community of experienced IT professionals. Our CIS Hardened Images® are virtual machine emulations preconfigured to provide secure, on-demand, and scalable computing environments in the cloud. CIS is home to both the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center® (MS-ISAC®), the go-to resource for cyber threat prevention, protection, response, and recovery for U.S. State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial government entities, and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC®), which supports the cybersecurity needs of U.S. State, Local, and Territorial elections offices. To learn more, visit www.CISecurity.org  or follow us on Twitter: @CISecurity.