Elections security is national security

Graham-Klouchar amendment to NDAA is imperative

By Bruce Fein - - Monday, August 28, 2017



The U.S. Senate should enthusiastically pass the Graham-Klobuchar amendment to H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2018.

The amendment would enormously strengthen defenses against cyber attacks that could compromise the integrity of elections in the United States and undermine legitimacy of government.  Public confidence in the reliability of elections is a cornerstone of national security—the willingness of the people to fight and die for their country.  Experts agree that the Vietnam War was lost because the South Vietnamese Army would not risk that last full measure of devotion on behalf of a corrupt, fraudulently elected government.   To the extent citizens lose confidence in electoral results, to that extent military morale diminishes.

The near-misses during the 2016 election cycle underscore the urgency of the Graham-Klobuchar amendment.  It would provide federal funding to states through Election Technology Improvement Grants. The funds would be used for voting system investments conditioned on adherence to best practices recommended by an expert Commission.

States would be eligible for a grant only if their election systems survive a Security Risk and Vulnerability Assessment from the Department of Homeland Security, including correcting detected vulnerabilities.  Grants must be applied to satisfying the cyber-security and cyber-hygiene recommendations of a federal-state commission.

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