Issues with Designating Election Infrastructure as Critical Infrastructure

By Daniel Patrick Shaffer

Critical Infrastructure and the Power of the Executive Branch

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently proposed the idea of designating election infrastructure as “critical infrastructure.” Critical infrastructure includes pieces of infrastructure that are so vital to the United States, that their destruction would have a crippling effect on our economy, health, and security. This currently includes infrastructure like dams, the power grid, and financial institutions. The Secretary has cybersecurity concerns, citing the recent cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee database, and the possibility of more destructive attacks in the future. Pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, The President and Secretary of DHS both have the power to designate critical infrastructure. The President did this in the Presidential Policy Directive-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience. The Directive says that department heads are in charge of working with the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure security in their respective critical infrastructures. The Department of Justice, a part of the executive branch, has jurisdiction to monitor, investigate, and Continue reading “Issues with Designating Election Infrastructure as Critical Infrastructure”

Hispanic Vote Plays Important Role in Midterm Elections

As we discussed last week here on the NSLB blog, the Hispanic voting population was in a position to significantly impact the outcome of the recent U.S. midterm elections. Although the results of last week’s elections seem to indicate that Republicans fared better than Democrats overall, Hispanic voters nevertheless played a crucial role in several victories for each party.

In Nevada, Senator Harry Reid won reelection despite intense criticism and public campaigns intended to unseat him. Reid’s victory has been attributed to many factors, not the least of which is the outpouring of support he received from the Hispanic community. According to Matt Barreto from Latino Decisions, the support of the Hispanic population was “absolutely the reason Harry Reid won.”

However, Nevada was not the only state where the Hispanic vote appears to have played a major role in the outcome. On the other end of the political spectrum, Republicans welcomed several Hispanic politicians to their list of electoral winners. For instance, Florida elected Marco Rubio to the Senate, and Texans voted in two new representatives, Francisco Canseco and Bill Flores.

Spanish-Language Television Campaigns Encourage Hispanics to Vote

This week Telemundo aired segments of its “Tu Voto, Tu Futuro” (Your Vote, Your Future) campaign, and Univision recently started a similar campaign in conjunction with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

U.S. immigration law continues to be one of the most important issues for Hispanic voters, who could play a decisive role in several midterm elections. For instance, there are competitive races in Arizona, California, Texas and Florida, all of which possess significant Hispanic populations.

Despite the perception that these television campaigns are partisan, both networks have emphasized that their goal is to provide an education role in order to encourage civic participation. In the last midterm election (2006), approximately 60% of registered Hispanic voters actually cast a ballot, while roughly 71.5% of all other voters made it to the polls.

Female Suicide Bomber Targets Pilgrims in North-east Baghdad

A female suicide bomber detonated a set of explosives hidden under her garments killing at least 40 and injuring more than 100 civilians. The bomber targeted a group of Shia pilgrims who were making the journey to Karbala from Baghdad to celebrate the annual festival of Arbaeen which culminates the end of a 40-day morning of the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. The pilgrimage has been the target of attacks staged by Sunni extremists – less than a year ago another group of Shia pilgrims on the same journey were killed by a female suicide bomber. This most recent attack highlights the elevated tension between Shia and Sunni groups in anticipation of parliamentary elections coming this March. Read more at BBC.

Iraq Election Remains Uncertain

Iraqi officials continue to work towards resolving major impediments to elections that were expected to be held early next year. Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi recently vetoed an election law, an issue which must be resolved at least 60 days prior to the elections. Lawmakers agreed to an amendment Monday that leaders anticipate could face another veto from Sunni officials. The parliament had been at a standstill in its attempts to come to an agreement regarding this and other election-related issues.

The elections must be held by Jan. 31, according to the Iraqi constitution. Shiite leaders in Iraq believe Jan. 23 is the latest the vote could be held without disregarding the deadline.

The scaling back of American military operations in Iraq is largely dependent upon a successful election, which would greatly assist in the transition to Iraqi governmental security.

Read more at WSJ.