With Election Day this week, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness has moved to a high-alert status.

According to Jared Maples, the director of the NJOHSP, maintaining an open, transparent and secure election system has been a top priority since it was designated a critical infrastructure sector five years ago by the federal Department of Homeland Security.

“We’ve added in a lot of measures from a cyber perspective, on the voter registration system, monitoring the election systems, monitoring all of the core systems that are used by the counties,” he said.

To make sure everyone is ready for a possible disruption or threat on Election Day, state and federal officials have done exercises with election and law enforcement officials in 21 counties.

Maples said before the polls open on Tuesday “we’re going to have a full operational posture in our command center at the New Jersey Cyber Security and Communications Integration Cell."

The ROIC, the New Jersey Regional Operations and Intelligence Center, serves as the state’s primary focal point for information sharing and intelligence to support law enforcement.

He said before, during and after the Election the Jersey Office of Homeland Security will be “making sure we’re getting real-time intelligence, whether it be a physical threat, a cyber threat, or disinformation or misinformation.”

Maples said one main focus is making sure “whether they be foreign-state actors, whether they be domestic extremists or whether they be people kind of just bent on causing chaos, we’re keeping an eye on all that and what we do operationally is not just monitor but also push out updates.”

He said there have been a wide assortment of threats and disinformation efforts, some from other countries, others from domestic group and lone-wolf individuals.

“We’ll be continuing to monitor those,” said Maples, “and push that out real-time to get the intel and get the responses coordinated down to the local level and make sure we can continue to have a safe, fair and free election.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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