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CONGRESS APPROPRIATES $380 MILLION FOR ELECTION TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES
Advocates Fear States Will Fail to Adequately Secure Elections
Securing the Nation’s Voting Machines: A Toolkit for Advocates and Election Officials
On March 23, 2018, Congress approved $380 million “to improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements.” These funds are available to states immediately.
While states will have flexibility in how they use this money, Congress has emphasized the importance of having a voter-verified paper record of every vote. In a memo accompanying the appropriations, Congress also recommended those paper records be used to conduct post-election audits, ensuring voting machines have produced an accurate result.
This toolkit, created jointly by the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, the National Election Defense Coalition, and Verified Voting, is meant as a roadmap for advocates and election officials nationwide as local jurisdictions consider purchasing new voting machines. It also suggests best practices for conducting post-election audits.
BIPARTISAN Legislation to protect elections:
SENATE BILL 2261 - The Secure Elections Act
In 2016-2017, the National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC), with our partners and allies, orchestrated a campaign comprising leading academic experts, current and formal federal officials, editorial writers and respected advocates from both parties, to educate policy makers and urge them to implement federal and state security reforms.
This effort culminated in the Secure Elections Act (S.2261), introduced in December of 2017 by a bipartisan group of six Senators, including Sens. James Lankford (R-OK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).
Many thanks to our working partners: Brennan Center, Common Cause, Verified Voting, the London Center for Policy Research, and the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology.
HOUSE BILL 3751 - THE PAPER ACT
NEDC has also supported the development and launch of a measure similar to Senate Bill 2261 in the US House, the PAPER Act (H.R. 3751), with strong bipartisan support. The immediate aim of both bills is to secure federal support for states and counties to replace antiquated paperless voting machines before the 2018 and 2020 federal elections and to press for policy changes to ensure election administrators have the auditing tools and training to detect and thwart a cyber-attack.
100 COMPUTER SCIENTISTS AND CYBER EXPERTS call on CONGRESS: SECURE AMERICAN ELECTIONS
Dear Member of Congress:
Faith in American democracy rests on the integrity of our elections. So it stands to reason that lawmakers and administrators from both political parties should prioritize efforts to minimize election security risks. While there has been encouraging progress to improve election security in recent years, too many polling stations across the nation are still equipped with electronic machines that do not produce voter-verified paper ballots. Many jurisdictions are also inadequately prepared to deal with rising cybersecurity risks.
We are writing to you as members of the computer science and cybersecurity communities, together with statisticians and election auditing experts, to convey our concern about these and other vulnerabilities in our voting system and to urge you to take the following simple, straightforward, and cost-effective actions to set meaningful standards to protect American elections. We represent both major political parties, independents, and a range of academic institutions and private sector organizations, but we are united in our belief that the United States, the world’s oldest representative democracy, needs prompt action to ensure prudent elections security standards.
June 21, 2017: Professor Alex Halderman, NEDC ally and advisor, testifies before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee Hearing on security of elections
Lawmakers told of growing cyber threat to election systems - The Hill
Computer expert: Some voting machines can be directly hacked - The Washington Examiner
FEATURED NEWS & OPINION
CONGRESS APPROPRIATES $380 MILLION FOR ELECTION SECURITY
By Morgan Chalfant
Congressional leaders are hammering out a massive spending bill that will include money to help secure U.S. voting systems from cyberattacks.
We need to hack-proof our elections. An old technology can help.
By Michael Chertoff and Grover Norquist
Washington Post, February 14, 2018
Michael Chertoff was secretary of homeland security from 2005 to 2009. Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.
The nation’s top intelligence officers warned Congress this week that Russia is continuing its efforts to target the 2018 elections.
This should come as no surprise: A few months ago, the Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states that hackers had targeted their election systems in 2016. Yet Congress still has not passed legislation to meaningfully address election cybersecurity.
Time is running out. Lawmakers need to act immediately if we are to protect the 2018 and 2020 elections.