The University of Southern California has kicked off its nonpartisan, independent, 50-state election cybersecurity training initiative in Maryland.
The initiative will featured day-long workshops in each state, designed to train state and local election and campaign officials how best to fortify against digital attacks. Participants also learnt best practices to protect against misinformation and disinformation and crisis communication strategies.
The in-state programming consists of briefings, interactive exercises, and discussions, presented by educators, issue experts, elected officials and thought leaders, unique to each location.
“The integrity of our electoral process is imperative for our democracy. We are looking forward to helping state and local officials prepare for potential threats—regardless of source, origin, party or candidate targeted,” said USC University Professor Geoffrey Cowan, the project’s principal investigator.
This essential information is designed for state and local election officials, campaign officials of all parties, academics, nongovernmental organizations and students. All events are open to the public and to the media.
“We intend to reach as many people as possible affiliated with state and local campaigns and elections,” said Adam Clayton Powell III, executive director of the project.
“We are going to the 50 states to make sure the information is obtainable by everyone. We like to say our candidate is democracy.”
The initiative is led by the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, which is drawing on faculty expertise from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; USC Gould School of Law; USC Marshall School of Business; USC Price School of Public Policy; USC Viterbi School of Engineering and USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The effort is also supported by USC political experts, including some who have run presidential campaigns for candidates from both parties.
“The initiative’s goal is to provide our target audience—people involved in campaigns and elections—with expert advice that’s immediately actionable,” said Justin Griffin, the project’s managing director. “This is a complicated issue, but there are some easy steps that can mitigate immediate risks.”
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