Former Pa. secretary Boockvar joins Pitt Cyber

Kathy Boockvar, former secretary of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is joining Pitt’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security as a distinguished visiting scholar and an adjunct professor in the School of Law.

Boockvar — who oversaw Pennsylvania’s participation in the 2020 presidential election and the 6.9 million votes cast during it — will focus on election security, disinformation, and other issues at the intersection of democracy and technology for Pitt Cyber.

As secretary of the commonwealth, Boockvar managed the implementation of Act 77 — the most sweeping and bipartisan election law reforms in more than 80 years — which for the first time allowed all Pennsylvanians to vote by mail. Boockvar also managed the certification and deployment of new voting systems statewide.

Most recently, Boockvar served as the vice president of election operations for the Center for Internet Security, where she led election security initiatives and worked closely with federal, state and local government on election security practices. Boockvar also will be working with other organizations and institutions during her time at Pitt, including the Brennan Center for Justice and the University of Delaware Biden School of Public Policy.

“Pitt Cyber is widely recognized and respected as a leader in election security and disinformation issues,” Boockvar said. “As evidenced by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security as well as the Pitt Disinformation Lab, Pitt Cyber is making crucial contributions to ensure continued trust in our democracy. I look forward to working with such an impactful organization, as well as the opportunity to engage with students at the University of Pittsburgh.”

Before her tenure as Secretary of the Commonwealth from January 2019 to February 2021, Boockvar served as a senior advisor on election modernization to former Gov. Tom Wolf. In August 2019, she was named co-chair of the Elections Committee of the National Association of Secretaries of State. She received her law degree from the American University’s Washington College of Law, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Boockvar has also previously served as a voting-rights attorney in Pennsylvania.

“(Boockvar) has a career’s worth of leadership and experience in dealing with issues that are central to Pitt Cyber’s mission, and issues that are of paramount importance to preserving American democracy.,” said David Hickton, founding director of Pitt Cyber. “We look forward to working with Kathy and continuing to build upon Pitt Cyber’s work in election security and disinformation issues.”