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Homeland Security Offering States Voting Cybersecurity Help

FILE - People wait in line to cast their ballots to vote in the New York primary elections at a polling station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, April 19, 2016. Most voters in the U.S. encounter some kind of machine during the voting process.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security offered Monday to help state elections officials with the challenge of securing voting systems from the threat of cyber attacks.

Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson hosted a meeting by telephone with officials from around the country as well as representatives from the Justice Department and the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

Most voters in the U.S. encounter some kind of machine during the voting process, whether they vote directly on a touchscreen device or put their paper ballot into a scanner. But which system is used is up to officials overseeing the 9,000 separate voting jurisdictions across the country, not the federal government.

Johnson encouraged states to implement recommendations that include making sure electronic voting machines are not connected to the internet while voting is taking place.

He also announced a new campaign to bring together government and private sector experts to promote voting security and heighten awareness of the potential risks to the infrastructure involved in the process.