House Administration Democrats Release New Report on States' Election Security Preparedness
WASHINGTON, DC – Committee on House Administration Democrats are releasing a new report today detailing the election security preparedness of the 50 states ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The report, which concludes substantial funding is needed to secure state voting systems against future cyber-attacks, comes as President Trump prepares for a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who personally “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” according to American intelligence officials, a comprehensive effort to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.”
The report analyzes states’ current election infrastructure, their plans to spend new grant funding secured by Democratic negotiators in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, and whether the states’ public plans are adequate given the threats and vulnerabilities faced ahead.
“Two years after Russia’s sweeping attack on our democracy, House Republicans have done little to protect our election systems,” said Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert A. Brady, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, and Rep. Jamie Raskin. “The 2018 elections are already well underway, and states must be prepared to defend against sophisticated, state-sponsored cyber-attacks to disrupt our elections. Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have each warned recently that Russia continues to carry out disruptive foreign influence campaigns.
“Earlier this year we were proud to have secured $380 million to help states upgrade their voting systems, but as state election officials recently told the Senate Rules Committee, that alone is not enough. The Election Security Task Force found that states require an additional $1.4 billion to take all the steps required to secure their election systems. In March, we called on Appropriators to provide sufficient funding to help states secure their voting systems against future attacks. Despite this, the appropriations bills currently being considered by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives do not contain a single dollar of additional funding for elections security. Since House Republicans have repeatedly disregarded the threats to American electoral democracy, it is all the more important that states spend the limited funds already appropriated in the most effective manner.
“It was Congress’ clear intent that these funds be used to improve election security. One of the most significant steps a state can take to protect its voting system is to replace paperless voting machines that have repeatedly been shown to be highly vulnerable to attacks, along with implementing post-election audits, upgrading IT infrastructure – including voter registration databases – and providing increased cybersecurity training.”
As the National Association of Secretaries of State gather this weekend for their annual conference, today’s report highlights the eighteen states with the most vulnerable election infrastructure and assesses:
- Whether they have requested the funds made available by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC);
- How the state has publicly stated they plan to spend the grant money;
- Whether the states’ public response is sufficient given the threats and vulnerabilities faced.
Many of the states listed in this report are using at least some paperless voting machines, which do not leave any paper backup, and consequently, it is near impossible to detect whether results have been tampered with. Many also need improvement in the areas of post-election audits, IT infrastructure, and cybersecurity training.
In February, the Congressional Task Force on Election Security developed a full set of recommendations to secure our elections.
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