ASPEN, Colo. (AP) -- Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Wednesday that states should not be wary of asking for the federal government's help to strengthen election systems in light of Russian meddling in last year's election.
"All of the input that I get from all of the states is that 'We don't want you involved in our election process. It's a state responsibility,'" Kelly said at the Aspen Security Forum, an annual gathering of national security and intelligence experts.
He said he agreed with Jeh Johnson, his predecessor who made election systems part of the U.S. critical infrastructure and then told the states that the federal government was there to help.
"I think they're nuts if they don't because in the world we live in cyber-wise, any second, third, fourth objective look at what you're doing would make sense," Kelly said. He added that the federal government is not trying to take over state and local elections systems. "If they don't want the help, they don't have to ask," he said.