September 17

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Fair elections are the foundation of American democracy. But election administrators in the United States face significant security challenges. Advanced persistent threats are becoming more sophisticated and more frequent, and new issues are emerging all the time. Election security is an issue that affects every county in every state, but jurisdictions vary widely in their ability to ensure accurate and secure voting.

To explore this timely and important topic, Government Technology is bringing together two national experts to share their thoughts on the current state of election security – and how states and counties can work to improve it:

  • Tonya Rice served until recently as the Director of Elections in Cook County, Ill., one of the nation’s largest voting jurisdictions. For three years, she also served as the Chief Data Officer in the elections office, focusing on cybersecurity and other issues of election law and technology policies. 
  • Mick Baccio is a veteran information security professional having spent most of his career in the federal government, including three years as the White House Threat Intelligence Branch Chief, serving under President Obama and President Trump. He made history last year when he was hired by Pete Buttigieg as the first-ever chief information security officer for a presidential campaign.

Join these two thought leaders on Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern, for an interactive discussion on a variety of election security issues, including:

  • An overview of the elections industry and the current threat landscape for state and local election administrators
  • The biggest threats to secure voting, including ransomware and phishing attempts that could lock up election systems and prevent officials from accessing information they need
  • How to ensure smooth operations on Election Day for administrators, poll workers and everyone else
  • How to monitor information across election systems and voter databases to identify and respond to potential threats


Tonya Rice

Tonya Rice

Sr. Manager, Industry Strategy - US Elections, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Tonya Rice has served as a leader in the elections and public sector technology industries for over 15 years. At AWS, Tonya advises state & local governments on how to address their most complex challenges by securely modernizing systems that drive electoral, legislative, and political processes.
Prior to Amazon, Tonya served as Director of Elections and Chief Data Officer for Cook County, Illinois, one of the largest US election jurisdictions, where her responsibilities included leadership across a diverse Security and Technology group. Collectively, her teams of 100+ specialists led strategy, development, and operations of innovative new solutions and public-private partnership models.
As a subject matter expert, Tonya has authored multiple cybersecurity white papers and delivered keynotes at national election conferences. She has also served on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s national task force of election officials to develop industry best practices.
Tonya earned a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law, a B.A. degree from Northwestern University, and serves on the Board of Advisors for Auburn University’s Graduate Program in Election Administration. She also chairs the Board of Directors at Chicago HOPES for Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides educational services for children living in homeless shelters.

Mick Baccio

Mick Baccio

Security Advisor, Splunk Inc.

Mick Baccio fell in love with the idea of cyberspace around 9 years old after reading Neuromancer, which led him to pursue a career in computer operations, focusing on information security. He was the Chief Information Security Officer at Pete for America; holding the honor of being the first CISO in the history of presidential campaigns. Previously the White House Threat Intelligence Branch Chief in both the Obama and Trump administrations, Mick also helped create a threat intelligence program during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act at the Department of Health and Human Services. Mick has served in cybersecurity and technical roles at the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control, and is a US Navy veteran. As a Security Advisor for Splunk, Mick continues to leverage his background and help customers solve security problems.

When not posting pictures of cats, food, and sneakers to social media, Mick is the Vice President of The Open Organisation of Lockpickers in Washington DC, and a Goon at DEFCon.

Phil Bertolini

Phil Bertolini — Moderator

Co-Director of the Center for Digital Government

Phil Bertolini is the Co-Director of the Center for Digital Government (CDG), a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. Previously, he served as deputy county executive and CIO for Oakland County, Michigan.

During his 31-year tenure, Phil built a world-class IT organization in the second-largest county in Michigan, just north of Detroit. As Oakland County CIO, he oversaw more than 150 employees serving over 1.2 million residents. In 2005, he was also promoted to deputy county executive, holding dual positions until his retirement.

Phil’s efforts earned the county national attention, winning numerous awards for technology innovation and excellence. He was named one of Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year and Government Technology Magazine’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers. He was also honored by the President Obama White House as a Champion of Change for 2012.