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What's in the box?

For the past few years, the Department of Homeland Security has convened exercises for state election officials to test how they’d respond to a cyberattack against voting systems. At a National Association of Secretaries of State meeting in Washington last weekend, a DHS official introduced a new product that could make it easier for local officials to run those exercises. While the drills have included representatives of some local governments, one of the biggest challenges statewide election officials say they have is making sure new cybersecurity tools and procedures trickle down to even the smallest, most resource-strapped jurisdictions involved in the democratic process. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency's newest publication for states and localities is a "tabletop in a box," giving election officials a handbook to run customizable security drills of their own, simulating potential attacks like ransomware, website defacement and disinformation campaigns. Benjamin Freed reports.

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StateScoop 50 nominations are open

The Oscars may be on Sunday, but that doesn't mean awards season is over. Nominations for the annual StateScoop 50 awards, marking the best and brightest people who make state government more efficient and effective. Submit your candidates for the best state IT, cybersecurity and innovation leaders through Feb. 28, with voting to begin next month. The awards will be handed out in May at StateScoop's reception during NASCIO's midyear conference. Make your nominations here.

What's next for state and local government IT in 2020?

In the first episode of the new season of StateScoop's Priorities podcast, Ben joins Colin to talk about the year ahead in state and local tech. Election security, unsurprisingly, is going to be a big topic for at least the next ten month. And we also talk what else StateScoop has planned for 2020: expect more stories about cybersecurity, ransomware and a series of feature packages, starting with one about user experience. Later in the episode NASCIO's Meredith Ward and Amy Glasscock join Colin to talk about the organization's focus artificial intelligence, privacy issues and improving state and local collaboration on information security. Listen to the podcast.

FCC approves $20.4 billion rural broadband expansion fund

The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines last week to adopt rules for a broadband expansion project that will disperse $20.4 billion over the next 10 years. But the funding, which will go toward improving broadband access in rural regions, excludes funding projects in New York, Alaska and potentially parts of many other states. The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is expected to connect more than six million homes and businesses through a two-phase dispersion model over the next decade. California, Texas and Michigan are expected to get the biggest shares of the fund, but New York officials are objecting to their exclusion. Ryan Johnston reports.

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