Former US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute spoke about the cyber attacks during the 2016 election and the importance of election security.
With recent evidence that foreign governments and non-state actors made efforts to interfere with the 2016 election, Congress has investigated these actions to ensure that the United States is prepared for the 2018 midterm elections and elections in the future. This lesson provides context on this interference and has students view video clips from foreign policy and cyber experts, elected officials and cabinet members on different ways to address foreign interference in U.S. elections. The focus of this lesson is on cyber-attacks on campaign and state election commissions, influencing citizens through media and the security of voting machines.
Have the students view the following video clip to gain an understanding of the importance of election security.
How are cyber-attacks different than physical attacks on our country?
According to Mr. Lute, why is the loss of confidence in our election process more damaging than other attacks that the U.S. has faced?
Explain the actions that Russia took to interfere with the 2016 election.
Have the students view the video below and take notes on the following questions. Student can use the note-taking chart.
What strategies and actions are foreign governments and non-state actors using to impact U.S. elections?
Using the note-taking chart have the students identify ways to address foreign election interference based on the ideas and strategies proposed in the videos below. They should be able to answer the following question after viewing the video clips:
VIDEO CLIP: Russian Interference in the 2016 Election (5:45)
VIDEO CLIP: Transparency in Advertisements on the Internet (3:54)
VIDEO CLIP: The Countering Foreign Propaganda Act (1:47)
VIDEO CLIP: National Security Strategies Addressing Foreign Meddling in Elections (4:38)
VIDEO CLIP: Russian Hacking Attempts of Voting Machines (3:53)
VIDEO CLIP: Election Security- Sharing Information with State Election Commissions (1:52)
VIDEO CLIP: Deterring Future Election Meddling (3:04)
VIDEO CLIP: Multifaceted Ways to Address Cyber Attacks (2:48)
Action Plan- Develop a plan to address actions taken by foreign governments to influence U.S. elections. Be detailed about what steps will be taken and possible reactions to these actions.
Additional Writing Prompts-
Note-taking chart that accompanies the lesson.
Elections in the United States are run at the state level. Many states and localities have opted to use electronic voting machines for voting in elections. With the attempts at hacking to influence the US election process in 2016, there has been a new focus on securing our election infrastructure from future threats. This lesson explores the ways that states operate elections, vulnerabilities of voting machines found during a recent DEF CON report and possible ways to address these vulnerabilities.