MEDIA ADVISORY: Virtual Election Cybersecurity Initiative in Arkansas on Thursday

On Thursday, April 9 , 2020 the USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative will present an Arkansas online workshop, with resources for campaigns, election workers, elected and appointed officials, academics and concerned citizens to reinforce election cybersecurity measures.

Contact: Tiffany Shackelford (703)470-2996 or; Emily Gersema, (213) 740-6973 or; or Ted Kissell, (714) 316-8808 or

Experts on Thursday afternoon will lead discussions on election cybersecurity with state and local officials and campaign representatives to help improve election cybersecurity in Arkansas. Topics covered will include cybersecurity, disinformation and misinformation and crisis

The USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative, supported by a generous gift from Google, is an independent, bipartisan effort to strengthen election cybersecurity through workshops held for each of the 50 states.

“We are going to all 50 states, in person when possible or virtually when we cannot, to make certain information about best practices is available to everyone, but especially for those in campaigns and elections,” said Adam Clayton Powell III, executive director of the project. “We are a national campaign, and our candidate is democracy.”

The initiative kicked off in January in Maryland, drawing experts in national security, elected officials, as well as journalists and concerned members of the public. It continued to Ohio, California, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and now Arkansas.

“In advance of the 2020 election, we are committed to enhancing election security for voters, campaigns and journalists alike,” said Kristie Canegallo, vice president of Google’s Trust and Safety team. “We’re proud to support USC’s Election Security and Information Project to provide comprehensive training to candidates, campaigns, academics, elected officials, and NGOs to help them prepare for security challenges before the 2020 election.”

“We’re honored to be joined by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Elections Director Leslie Bellamy, Karyn Bradford Coleman, Chief of Staff to the Democratic Party of Arkansas, and Chair of the Republican Party of Arkansas, Doyle Webb. Their diverse experience with state and local elections will help contextualize how Arkansas is helping protect democracy,” said Justin Griffin, the project managing director.

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

WHO: Experts speaking include:

  • Leslie Rutledge, Attorney General of Arkansas
  • Leslie Bellamy, Director of Elections, Arkansas Secretary of State
  • Karyn Bradford Coleman, Chief of Staff, Democratic Party of Arkansas
  • Doyle Webb, Chairman, Republican Party of Arkansas
  • Clifford Neuman, Director, USC Center for Computer Systems Security; Senior Project Leader, USC Information Sciences Institute; and Associate Research Professor of Computer Science, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
  • Burghardt Tenderich, Professor of Professional Practice; Associate Director, USC Center for Public Relations; Director of Masters of Strategic Public Relations, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
  • Adam Clayton Powell III, Executive Director, USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative, and former USC Vice Provost
  • Justin Griffin, Managing Director, USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative, and veteran of
    political campaigns

WHERE: Zoom Event. You will receive credentials upon registration.

WHEN: Thursday, April 9, 2020 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM CDT

REGISTRATION: To attend, register here:

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

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