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Nebraska Wins National Award for Election Innovation

July 16, 2019

ES&S also recognized for leading the way in election security

Nebraska Secretary of State Robert Evnen has been named the recipient of the inaugural Innovators Award presented by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

Kathy Rogers, ES&S senior vice president of government relations; Wayne Bena, Nebraska Deputy Secretary of State; Keith Ingram, NASED president; and Ben Spear, EI-ISAC director

The award was a result of a collaboration to increase voter registration security in Nebraska, involving the Secretary of State’s office, Election Systems & Software (ES&S) and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC). ES&S is Nebraska’s voter registration database vendor, and the EI-ISAC is the entity contracted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide cybersecurity resources for elections. ES&S and the EI-ISAC were also recognized for their roles in the effort.

“The award marks achievements for innovation in election security highlighting technologies, partnerships and practices,” said Secretary Evnen. “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 detect suspicious activity in Nebraska’s voter registration system and will alert the Secretary of State’s office to real-time threats to the voter registration system. The Albert sensor is federally funded and supported through the Center for Internet Security, Inc. (CIS). To date, Nebraska’s approach to this technology has been replicated in four states and territories that use the same voter registration system.

“Elections Systems & Software is proud to be part of this trailblazing collaboration that helps ensure the security of Nebraska’s–and ultimately, the nation’s–elections,” said Tom Burt, ES&S CEO and president. “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. We are glad to see the State of Nebraska recognized for this innovative work.”

“Nebraska paved the way for states to deploy Albert sensors to Election Vendors,” said Keith Ingram, NASED resident and director of elections for the Texas Secretary of State. “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. NASED is proud to present them with our inaugural Innovators Award – they set the bar high, and we applaud them for their achievement.”

The award was presented to Deputy Secretary Wayne Bena on behalf of Secretary Evnen during the summer NASED conference in Austin, Texas, on July 14, 2019. ES&S Senior Vice President of Government Relations Kathy Rogers and EI-ISAC Director Ben Spear were also on hand for the award.

“The EI-ISAC congratulates Nebraska on receiving the inaugural NASED Innovators Award,” said Ben Spear, Director of the EI-ISAC. “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.”

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