Arizona SOS holds first in a series of Statewide Elections Security Tabletop Exercises

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First election TTX to include deepfake, AI generated disruptions

Mesa, AZ – Deep fake and other artificial intelligence (AI) disruptions took center stage at the Arizona Secretary of State's (SOS) two-day election security tabletop training exercise (TTX) in Mesa. The training, offered to stakeholders and representatives from all 15 counties, is the first in a series to help election officials prepare for the upcoming election cycle.

"Mis, dis and mal-information – or MDM – remain a primary threat to the security of our elections," Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said. "Advances in AI and deepfake technology heighten the potential for chaos. We are going to make sure we are prepared for what is coming our way."

The event on Dec. 15 and 16 was designed to increase readiness and resilience in protecting Arizona's election infrastructure by exposing election administrators to realistic scenarios and challenges that may occur during an election. The various threats and situations included cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, natural disasters, and more.

"AI is going to increase the quality, quantity and urgency of MDM. Training events like this are one of the best ways we can ensure we are ready for what's coming," Michael Moore, SOS Chief Information Security Officer, said.

Training participants worked with stakeholders from various levels of government, law enforcement agencies, and IT and cybersecurity experts to find best practices and areas for improvement in securing Arizona's elections. It was also an opportunity for county election officials from around the state to share ideas and build relationships.

"The fact that we are able to come together, build comradery and collaborate as stakeholders made this event so worthwhile," Pinal County Recorder Dana Lewis said. "We are preparing for the future, and this was an eye-opening experience."

For this first-of-its-kind training event, the SOS and Arizona county election and other government officials were joined by state and national organizations working on or interested in how election administrators are preparing to address election security issues. Participants and observers also included representatives from congressional offices, Citizens clean Elections Commission (CCEC), the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Local law enforcement partners from the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC), the state's fusion center, as well as the Arizona Department of Homeland Security (AZDHS) also joined the training.

Representatives from prominent technology firms working on AI issues including Open AI, Institute for the Future, and Microsoft also attended the event to share information firsthand about how this emerging technology could impact election security. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and the The Election Group helped develop some portions of the training, pulling from their national election experience and policy expertise.

"It's an honor to help state and local election officials prepare for safe and secure elections in 2024 in the face of evolving threats," Liz Howard, deputy director of the Brennan Center's Elections and Government Program said.

Two additional TTX training events focused on election security are planned for 2024. For additional questions or requests for interviews please contact Amanda O'Halloran at 602-856-3871 or [email protected].

A video montage of photos from the event is available at the link below. Still photographs can be made available to media representatives for publication by contacting Amanda O'Halloran at the contact information above.

Video Montage Link-



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