Protecting Maryland’s Mail Voting Processes through Poll Worker Training

Ongoing national discourse and legal proceedings on the security and integrity of election and voting processes has focused significant scrutiny on the methods, processes, and people involved in administering this vital piece in our democracy. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the broadening of vote-by-mail opportunities for constituents to allow for safe and accessible access to cast a ballot. For example, in Maryland, nearly half of the more than 3 million voters (74.5% of the eligible voters) cast their ballot using Maryland’s vote-by-mail option in the 2020 General Election[1], and 27% of the nearly 2 million voters (47.4% of the eligible voters) utilized Maryland’s vote-by-mail option in the 2022 General Election[2].  Maryland residents can also to permanently choose to vote by mail, receiving a ballot for each election.  In recognition that election and voting processes and equipment security and integrity are of “vital national interest”[3], the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) labeled them as critical infrastructure within the Government Facilities sector in 2017. The nearly 1 million poll workers needed nationwide to administer a General Election are oftentimes the first line of defense in maintaining the integrity and security of elections. This paper extends our prior work reported in the Baltimore Business Review – A Maryland Journal that analyzed the cyber, physical, and insider threats in various in-person voting processes and equipment and developed poll worker training modules for those threats in partnership with Maryland Boards of Elections. Specifically, this paper further contributes to improving the security and integrity of election infrastructure through cyber, physical, and insider threat training for poll workers explicitly for the vote-by-mail processes. Specifically, this paper details the design, validation, and dissemination of a vote-by-mail threat training module. 




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