After next week, the Homeland Security Department plans to start working with election machine vendors to make sure they’re defending against cyberattacks, a DHS official told reporters today.

The idea is to "make sure they have cybersecurity built into their systems," but also to offer them the department’s information sharing services, "so they’re seeing the same indicators we are," the official said.

"We understand a lot of states will be modernizing their voting machines over the next several years, and we want to make sure that as they modernize their machines, they do it in a way that is secure," an official said.

The department doesn’t want to send the signal about election security that "this is not a problem we’re looking at for Nov. 8, and then we’re done," the official said. "We’re trying to figure out how to make this a long-term program."

During this election cycle, the department has offered services to states aimed at protecting voter registration databases and other online systems related to the election. Government officials have taken pains to emphasize that wide-scale election hacking is not a significant concern, since voting machines are not connected to the internet.

But security researchers warn that election machines can be hacked easily under specific circumstances.

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