New Jersey homeland security officials have been coordinating for a long time to prepare for this year’s election and plan to be fully operational for at least 18 hours on Election Day to stay ahead of possible trouble.

Jared Maples, director of the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, told an Assembly committee that his agency’s Infrastructure Security Bureau and Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell “are fully engaged with county election offices and have been for the last several years.”

State, federal and county agencies “conducted physical security assessments on county elections offices and voting machine warehouses, for example, amongst many other day-to-day interactions to make our systems secure,” Maples said.

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Maples said that in conjunction with the Department of State, which includes the state Division of Election, “During the current remote working environment since mid-March, my office has continued to support continuity of operations and contingency planning efforts relating to elections, including technical planning and participation in numerous virtual exercises on potential election disruptions.”

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The state Infrastructure Security Bureau has provided online training to county superintendents and board of elections administrators to allow their staffs to pursue training while working securely from home in a remote environment, Maples said.

“It’s so important that people understand the issues that are out there and how they best can help us to secure those systems and take advantage of the most up-to-date technologies, information sharing platforms and best practices,” he said.

Maples said the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is part of an election security team with federal and state agencies that will monitor and respond to election-day events.

“We will maintain full presence two hours prior to the election system opening on Election Day and two hours following its closure to make sure that we have nothing but the most real-time and up-to-date threat information and ability to combat those counter-terrorism, certainly, and also disinformation and misinformation as it would unfortunately occur,” he said.

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