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Mark Wheeler

“It’s taught all of us in city government that technology has to be one of the partners at the table when we’re framing a response to an emergency.

“We look at elections and the monumental work required to process mail-in ballots and to ensure there was opportunity and equity across the city for citizens to obtain those ballots, fill them out and get them returned with a sense of security and safety. We’d set up 17 remote sites that people could go to to fill out ballots and see that they were received by a Board of Election staff, as well as set up an unprecedented mail ballot operation, and there was a great deal of technology involved there and there had to be insights about the security.

“There had to be conversations about security at the operating level and at security of the buildings and how we were going to be responsible for that. City government could be weaponized to disrupt elections by simply disrupting our operations and making it appear as if government couldn’t operate and therefore the election is unstable and cannot be trusted.”

Mark Wheeler is chief information officer for the City of Philadelphia.

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