The Obama administration has designated the country’s election infrastructure as ‘critical,’ to add federal protections to voting systems.

“Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law,” Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

The new designation will cover storage facilities, polling places, and centralized vote tabulations locations used to support the election process, as well as information and communications technology like voter registration databases, voting machines and other systems used to manage the election process and report results.

Johnson added: “This designation does not mean a federal takeover, regulation, oversight or intrusion concerning elections in this country. This designation does nothing to change the role state and local governments have in administering and running elections. The designation makes clear both domestically and internationally that election infrastructure enjoys all the benefits and protections of critical infrastructure that the U.S. government has to offer."

In a statement, Homeland Security Committee ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), noted: "In the long term, this will put our electoral systems on a more secure footing and maintain public confidence in our elections," he said. "For future elections at all levels, State officials who want to engage with DHS on enhancing the cyber and physical security of their electoral systems will have Federal partner working with them.”