News Releases

USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative Continues Regional Workshops Across States

September 08, 2021

On Thursday, Sept. 9, the USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative will launch a new series of regional workshops ahead of the off-year elections.

Contact: Emily Gersema, (213) 740-6973 or

The initiative to discuss ways to shore up cyber security in campaigns and government elections offices first began with a state-by-state effort in January 2020 that carried through the election and resumed this year with regional programs. The workshops featured experts in national security, elected officials, journalists and concerned members of the public.

The latest workshops are similar and regional in scope, offering resources to campaigns, election workers, elected officials, and concerned citizens to reinforce election cybersecurity measures.

The first workshop this fall will be held in-person in Iowa and live on Zoom this Thursday for elected officials and campaign aides and from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Media are welcome to attend.

The initiative is directed by Adam Clayton Powell III from the Washington, D.C., office of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.


WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 9, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. MDT (10:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. PDT).

WHAT: USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative. The topics covered include cybersecurity, disinformation and misinformation, and crisis communication.

WHO: USC experts speaking at Thursday’s workshop in Iowa include:

  • Clifford Neuman, director of the USC Center for Computer Systems Security and researcher at the USC Information Sciences Institute, and a computer science professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering
  • Sarah Mojarad, lecturer at USC Viterbi
  • Dave Quast, crisis communications and public affairs consultant; adjunct professor at USC Annenberg
  • Maurice Turner, Cybersecurity Fellow, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund of the United States, and USC Election Security Analyst
  • Marie Harf, International Elections Analyst, USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative


Other speakers:

  • John R. Ashcroft, Missouri Secretary of State
  • U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.)
  • Former U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, also former Governor of Iowa
  • U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
  • Jena Griswold, Colorado Secretary of State
  • Doug Jacobson, University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Information Assurance Center at Iowa State University
  • Paul Pate, Iowa Secretary of State

WHERE: For those attending in-person, the event will be at Des Moines Area Community College’s Ankeny campus Building 5, 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny, Iowa 50023.


MORE INFORMATION: The initiative is led by the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, established by University Professor Geoffrey Cowan, who is the principal investigator for the Google-supported USC Elections Cybersecurity Initiative. For more background on CCLP, please visit its website.

Additional regional workshops for multiple states are planned through the fall:

Sept. 23: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi,South Carolina
Oct. 7: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
Oct. 21: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming
Nov. 4: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
Nov. 18: Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

For more information on those, please visit the initiative’s upcoming events site.

[Graphic art credit: USC Annenberg]