Reality: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) do not design or audit ballots, which are processes managed by state and local election officials.
Rumor: DHS or CISA printed paper ballots with security measures and is auditing results as a countermeasure against ballot counterfeiting.
Get the Facts: While DHS and CISA assist states and localities with securing election infrastructure, DHS and CISA do not design, print, or audit ballots. State and local election officials manage ballot design and printing, as well as the auditing of results.
Local election offices have security and detection measures in place that make it highly difficult to commit fraud through counterfeit ballots. While the specific measures vary, in accordance with state and local election laws and practices, ballot security measures can include signature matching, information checks, barcodes, watermarks, and precise paper weights.
DHS and CISA operate in support of state and local election officials, and do not administer elections or handle ballots. CISA’s role in election security includes sharing information, such as cyber threat indicators, with state and local election officials, as well as providing technical cybersecurity services (e.g., vulnerability scanning) upon the request of those officials. CISA funded an independent third-party to develop an open-source election auditing tool for voluntary use by state and local election officials. (Note: The previous sentence was updated 9 November 2020.) CISA does not audit elections and does not have access to the tool as states use it.