States are on front lines of 2020 election-security efforts

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Inside a hotel ballroom near the nation’s capital, a U.S. Army officer with battlefield experience told 120 state and local election officials that they may have more in common with military strategists than they might think.

These government officials are on the front lines of a different kind of battlefield — one in which they are helping to defend American democracy by ensuring free and fair elections.

“Everyone in this room is part of a bigger effort, and it’s only together are we going to get through this,” the officer said.

That officer and other past and present national security leaders had a message to convey to officials from 24 states gathered for a recent training held by a Harvard-affiliated democracy project: They are the linchpins in efforts to defend U.S. elections from an attack by Russia, China or other foreign threats, and developing a military mindset will help them protect the integrity of the vote.