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Voting booth in New Hampshire. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

The National Guard is helping West Virginia’s Secretary of State watch out for Russian interference during its congressional primaries next month, Bloomberg reports.

Why it makes sense: Although states run their own elections and several states were at first apprehensive of the federal government getting involved in their election security, the National Guard is already in place in states and ready to deploy quickly. There are also clear funding lines when it comes to cyber assistance at the state level — states pay for it and control the forces.

Where the National Guard is already helping on election security issues, per Bloomberg: Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. The Guard plans to have cyber units operational in 37 other states by next year.

One hurdle: The National Guard’s cyber training may not yet be ready to deal with the specific issue of election security. RAND Corp. reports that the Army National Guard and Army Reserve have more than 100,000 personnel with cyber experience — but it's not necessarily related to the security of electoral infrastructure.

On Capitol Hill: Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Steven Palazzo (R-MS) introduced legislation last fall that would create national cyber units in the National Guard to assist with cyberattacks on a state level.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
5 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.