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As the line to vote stretches outside the Louisiana State Archives building, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, left, talks about the first day of early voting at the Louisiana State Archives building Tuesday Oct. 25, 2016, and that voters will receive an "I Voted" Blue Dog sticker after casting their ballot.

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler asked Tuesday President-elect Donald Trump to undo a recent federal decision that designates elections systems in all 50 states as “critical infrastructure.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Jan. 6 said in a press release that the designation allows voter registration rolls, balloting and other parts of the election system to receive priority cybersecurity assistance.

The federal government has 16 critical infrastructure sectors, including dams, government facilities and nuclear reactors. The designation allows those sectors to work with federal authorities on a variety activities, such as, risk assessments.

Johnson acknowledged that many state and local election officials “are opposed to this designation.” But, he added, the designation does not mean a federal takeover, regulation, oversight or intrusion concerning elections.

Schedler said in a prepared statement that during a conference call with elections officials around the country, Johnson could not say why such a formal designation was immediately necessary.

Over the summer, Arizona and Illinois reported efforts to infiltrate their voter registration systems. No data was manipulated and the systems targeted had nothing to do with vote casting or counting.

The FBI reported to Congress that a variety of “scanning activities” — early indications of computer hacking — was found in as many as 20 states. Johnson, at the time, encouraged states to secure their election systems and ensure that electronic voting machines were not connected to the internet.

Louisiana already had implemented all of the recommendations made by Johnson’s agency, Schedler said. He questioned the need to make the designation during the final weeks of the Obama administration.

He asked Trump to rescind the designation after taking office on Friday.

“When it comes to election integrity, I am not going to let the federal government have the keys to our secured election system unless they can better articulate their intentions,” Schedler said, adding that it was intrusion into state’s rights and a step towards nationalizing elections.

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.