Former Election Assistance Commission Chairman Matthew Masterson is joining the Department of Homeland Security office that coordinates the agency’s election cybersecurity programs.
Christopher Krebs, acting underecretary of DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, announced in a press release Monday that the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications is bringing Masterson on as a senior cybersecurity adviser.
“There are few who have Matt’s experience working with all levels of government and the private sector to protect our nation’s election systems,” Krebs said. “Matt is one of the most equipped to advise on this non-partisan issue and will be an asset to the organization. In a time where technology is constantly evolving, it is more important than ever that DHS maintains productive and trusted relationships with our partners.”
Masterson served as an EAC commissioner from December 2014 until last month. He also has filled various roles in the office of Ohio’s secretary of state, including deputy election director and chief information officer.
DHS has been trying to coordinate with state and local election officials on election security since it designated election systems as critical infrastructure in January 2017. Krebs said that Masterson, in his various past roles, “was instrumental in bridging gaps between federal, state, and local governments and significantly advanced our nation’s efforts surrounding election cybersecurity.
Reuters reported last month that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., decided not to recommend Masterson for a second term as one of the EAC’s four commissioners. Commissioners are recommended by congressional leadership, nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Ryan’s move was met with criticism by some state election officials due to Masterson’s focus on cybersecurity. Commissioner Thomas Hicks was tapped to take Masterson’s place as chairman.
In a farewell letter to the EAC, Masterson lists as one of the commission achievements he that worked on: “Strengthening election security by working directly with state and local election officials across the nation, federal partners such as the Department of Homeland Security, academic experts and private industry leaders.”
He also praised DHS’s critical infrastructure designation.