Network Security

House Dems push for $1B in grants to secure election systems, introduce legislation

Calling Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election a “preview of what is yet to come,” House Democrats pressed for $1 billion in grants to secure the nation's election systems, released a 56-page report from the Congressional Task Force on Election Security and introduced legislation the steps aimed at sewing up holes in U.S. election systems.

Contending that “the unprecedented attack by Russia exposed serious national security vulnerabilities in our election infrastructure,” the report urged “Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion and take action — to provide the necessary funding, to take seriously the recommendations of this Task Force,” led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security and Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., the Administration Committee's ranking member “to recognize that election security is national security.” The report asked Congress to immediately release $300 million to states for upgrades and improvements to their voting machines.

In November, Thompson and Brady asked the House Appropriations Committee to carve out $400 million that is “desperately needed” to help states secure election systems and modernize their voting technology.

The Election Security Act, released by the Democrats Wednesday, among other actions, would authorize a $1 billion Election Assistance Commission (EAC) grant program for securing the election infrastructure, gives states sustainment funding – at the rate of one dollar per voter who voted in the most recent election, creates a $20 million grant program for states to conduct audits, expands the Department of Homeland Security's assistance to election officials, and compels the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to do threat assessments on a regular basis.  

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