Alabama 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell joined fellow legislators on Friday to introduce the Secure Elections Act which, if passed, would provide state and local governments with resources to strengthen their election systems against cyber attacks.
“Our democracy is our nation’s greatest asset and it is our job to protect its integrity,” Sewell said in a press release. “We know from our Intelligence Community that Russian entities launched cyber attacks against our election infrastructure in 2016, exploiting at least 21 state election systems. As the 2018 elections approach, action is urgently needed to protect our democracy against another attack. Today’s bipartisan bill takes a huge step forward by providing election officials with the resources and information they need to keep our democracy safe.”
Sewell was joined by Florida-Republican Rep. Tom Rooney, South Carolina-Republican Trey Gowdy, and Connecticut-Democrat Jim Himes, in introducing the legislation. All representatives are members of the members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), and aided in the HPSCI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
According to a report by The Hill, the Secure Elections Act would begin a voluntary grant program designed for replacing and updating paperless voting machines with machines that provide a paper trail. “The bill, like its companion in the Senate, is also designed to improve information sharing between state and federal officials on cyber threats to elections,” the report continued. “It would codify into law many of the steps Homeland Security is already taking to share sensitive details on threats and award security clearances to state elections officials.”
“Hostile foreign actors have attempted and will continue to attempt to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy by attacking our electoral process,” Gowdy said in a statement, according to CyberScoop. “It is our responsibility to take every precaution necessary to safeguard our elections and ensure no vote count is ever interfered with.”