2018 Midterm Election (copy)

Angelique Leong casts her vote in the 2018 November election at the East Madison Community Center.

Members of a new Wisconsin group dedicated to bolstering cyber security and shoring up other elections-related initiatives ahead of 2020 met for the first time Wednesday. 

The Wisconsin Election Security Council's Madison gathering came after the group was announced last week. Convened by the Elections Commission, the body seeks to find ways to use existing resources to enhance cyber security, strengthen relationships and work with partners on security training programs for state and local officials, among other things. 

Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said the meetings would help bring together a network of partners to tackle important security-related issues throughout the coming cycle. 

"The elections security landscape and threats that we face in Wisconsin are unique and diverse," she said. "We need a unique and diverse set of skills and expertise in order to keep pace."

Members include more than two dozen officials from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Military Affairs, Department of Transportation, Gov. Tony Evers' office, the state Legislature, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Counties Association and Towns Association, among others. 

The panel plans to meet every other month through next fall, with the next meeting scheduled for Dec. 18. The sprawling body is also looking at adding three public members, who would be able to apply for seats on the council. 

Wednesday's meeting comes after Elections Commission members in their September meeting agreed to free up $1.1 million in federal dollars to help local officials bolster their elections security efforts ahead of next year's presidential race.

Under the plan, up to $1,200 would be available for individual counties and municipalities for baseline security improvements, technical support, training, IT upgrades and more. 

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