Rep. Johnson Votes to Pass SAFE Act to Strengthen Election Security and Prevent Foreign Interference in the 2020 Election
June 27, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) voted to pass H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, to guard against foreign interference in our democracy by providing funding to states to update and secure their state’s voting systems. The bill mandates paper ballot voting systems, post-election risk-limiting audits, and strict cybersecurity requirements for both election technology vendors and for voting systems. It builds on the boldest set of democracy reforms passed by the House in H.R. 1, the For The People Act, in a generation.
“As families throughout Georgia prepare to celebrate America’s independence, our country faces a grave and urgent threat from foreign adversaries,” said Rep. Johnson. “The Mueller Report clearly stated that the Russians waged an unprecedented, all-out attack on our elections to undermine our democracy in 2016. Our top intelligence and security officials are now warning us that they expect the same type of foreign interference from Russia in 2020. Our national security demands that Congress act now to prevent such an attack from ever being successful again. That is why I was proud to join my colleagues today to pass the SAFE Act and uphold our patriotic duty to defend our nation and our democracy against threats, both foreign and domestic.”
The SAFE Act:
• Authorizes $600 million in Voting System Security Improvement Grants for states to modernize and secure their election infrastructure, which was appropriated by the FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill that the House passed on Wednesday.
• Authorizes $175 million every two years to states to maintain the state’s election infrastructure.
• Mandates that voting systems use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation.
• Requires states to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits to ensure election integrity; whether it is a programming error or a cyber-attack, these audits help detect inaccuracies.
• Sets strict cybersecurity standards for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.
• Fosters accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation.
• Bans Internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted.
• Requires voting machines to be manufactured in the United States.
“The SAFE Act represents a critical step to securing our election infrastructure and protecting the integrity of the ballot and our democracy,” Johnson said. “House Democrats know that in the fight to safeguard our elections, nothing less than our national security is at stake. Every vote against election security is a vote against our national security. We will continue to advance legislation to further harden our democratic institutions as we call upon the Senate to put patriotism above politics and pass the SAFE Act now. There is no time to waste.”