Rep. Johnson Reintroduces Bill to Protect the Security and Integrity of U.S. Elections
Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, has re-introduced with 35 of his colleagues H.R. 1907, the “Election Infrastructure and Security Promotion Act of 2017.” This bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate our voting systems as critical infrastructure.
As of October 2016, more than 20 states suffered attempted hacks of their voter registration databases. Since then, 48 states have requested assistance from DHS to test and protect various elements of their election administration systems from cyberattacks, specifically of their voter registration and election management systems.
During the most recent election cycle, approximately 24 state voter registration systems were attacked by unauthorized operatives. Earlier in March, the FBI initiated investigations into an alleged data breach at the Center for Election Systems in Kennesaw State University, which facilitates elections for all counties in Georgia. When DHS labels an asset as critical infrastructure, it heightens the Department’s security obligations and requires DHS to provide increased cybersecurity support to the states, as well as have a definitive plan in the event of future attacks.
“Since last year, we have witnessed a disturbing increase in attacks to our election infrastructure, which consists of voter registration, ballot casting, and election management systems. Everyone involved in the election process deserves all the protection and resources the federal government can afford. This is vital. No system should ever be compromised,” said Rep. Johnson. “We need to revisit the process and its critical infrastructure. This includes thinking of our electoral infrastructure like an election grid and focusing not just on the security of the machines, but also the security of the state board of elections’ back offices, poll books, election data, storage facilities, and management systems which comprise our election ecosystem.”
“The Election Infrastructure and Security Promotion Act of 2017” would:
- Designate voting systems as critical infrastructure under the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act;
- Require DHS to submit to Congress a comprehensive plan on protecting critical electoral process from a variety of threats, including cyber terrorism;
- Call upon the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop operational security standards to be used in federal elections and transparency standards so that voters may verify their votes;
- Authorize the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to establish an election technology innovation program to support and promote research into improving our voting process.
"By making our elections a part of our critical infrastructure, we can ensure cybersecurity standards for our elections systems are upgraded," said Rep. Pocan. "I’m proud to join Congressman Johnson to introduce this important bill. One thing Democrats and Republicans should agree on is that we should be doing everything in our power to guarantee the sovereignty of our county and the integrity of our elections.”
H.R. 1907 is supported by Verified Voting, the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation, Progressive Democrats of America, and People Demanding Action.
Original Cosponsors: John ConyersJ (D-MI), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), David Cicilline(D-RI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), David Scott(D-GA), Jared Huffman(D-CA), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Karen Bass (D-CA), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Al Green (D-TX), Maxine Water (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Judy Chu (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA).