The Biden administration on Tuesday announced that Kim Wyman, Washington state’s Republican secretary of state, will lead the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to protect elections from domestic and foreign interference.
Wyman, who has repeatedly refuted former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, will be the federal liaison to state and local officials as they look for resources and support to protect election infrastructure from hacking and voters from disinformation campaigns.
The announcement follows CNN’s reporting on Monday that Wyman’s appointment was imminent.
Wyman is known for her deep experience running elections and for calling out lies when she sees them. She spent nearly a decade as the elections director for Thurston County, Washington, before becoming Washington’s secretary of state in 2013. More recently, she slammed the sham “audit” of 2020 election results commissioned by Arizona Republicans as dangerous for US democracy.
She will spearhead an elections security program that DHS ramped up in the aftermath of Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.
“Kim’s deep knowledge of state and county government will strengthen our partnerships with state and local officials and enable us to expand our outreach to smaller election jurisdictions and private sector partners,” said Jen Easterly, director of DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Wyman said in a statement that she would resign as secretary of state on November 19.
Many election officials welcomed Wyman’s appointment.
“Secretary Wyman has always had a nonpartisan approach to election administration and a passion for the details,” said Michelle Tassinari, president of the National Association of State Election Directors. “I expect she will bring the same thoughtful, nonpartisan mindset to CISA, and I look forward to working with her in her new role.”
In her resignation statement, Wyman touted Washington state’s establishment of an Elections Security Operations Center and the cybersecurity drills that election officials have done with CISA, the FBI and the Washington National Guard.
Mick Baccio, the top cybersecurity official on Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 campaign, told CNN that Washington State had done important work on election security under Wyman.
“I’m looking forward to seeing her continue that work at DHS as we solidify the security posture of our nation,” Baccio said.