Congressional Task Force on Election Security

Issues: Elections
The Election Security Task Force was created to ensure the health and security of our nation’s election systems.
The Congressional Task Force on Election Security was formed to address the lack of action to protect electoral infrastructure following Russia interfering and attempting to influence the 2016 Presidential election. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the election systems in 21 states were breached and voter records containing personal information were compromised. Despite this, Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration have done little to provide greater protection to our election systems.
 
Russia launched a massive cyber-attack against the US to undermine faith in American democracy.
The US intelligence community has concluded that the Russians interfered in our 2016 elections and plans to continue its interference.  Russia targeted voting systems in at least 21 states and sought to infiltrate the networks of voting equipment vendors, political parties, and at least one local election board. The Kremlin spread disinformation to influence the American electorate through hundreds of thousands of social media posts, viewed by hundreds of millions of people.
 
The Trump Administration Refuses to Hold Russia Accountable.
Several Trump Administration officials – from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to then-CIA Director Pompeo and former-Secretary of State Tillerson – agree that the Russians are continuing to attempt to influence our country's elections. Those same officials admitted that the Trump Administration isn’t doing enough to counter foreign attacks on our democracy.
 
At a House Judiciary Hearing in November 2017, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified that “we’re not” doing enough, and in fact, “the matter is so complex that for most of us, we are not able to fully grasp the technical dangers that are out there.”
 
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that Russia is already beginning to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections and “I don't know that I would say we are better prepared” to address the threat.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified - and other top intelligence officials admitted - that President Trump has never asked them to focus on, or disrupt, Russian election meddling.
House Republicans consistently put President Trump's political interest above our national security interest. 
Republicans have attempted to discredit Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. They have succeeded in distracting from what should be Congress’ primary focus: protecting the integrity of our elections. Throughout the 115th Congress, House Republicans failed to hold a single full-committee hearing in the Homeland Security Committee or the Committee on House Administration to  examine interference in our elections and how to protect our democracy from foreign meddling going forward. House Republicans failed to pursue any legislative remedies to directly address Russian attacks, leaving our country highly vulnerable to other foreign efforts, or even non-state actors set on sabotaging the 2018 elections.
 
The threat remains, and Congress must act.
When a sovereign nation meddles in our elections, it is an attack on our country. We cannot leave states to defend against the sophisticated cyber tactics of state actors like Russia on their own. The Election Security Act, introduced in the 115th Congress by members of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, provides the critical investments needed by States and election administrators to protect our election infrastructure from future cyber-attacks.
 
The Election Security Task Force recommends:
- Congress should provide ongoing funding to states to secure their IT systems and voter databases, train personnel on cybersecurity, and end the crisis-to-crisis approach to addressing vulnerabilities in elections.
 
- Congress should adequately fund the Department of Homeland Security and the Election Assistance Commission so they can properly fulfill their mission to assist states in securing their election infrastructure.
 
- States should require voting machine vendors follow cybersecurity standards and notify of potential breaches.
 
- The Federal government should develop a National Strategy to Counter Efforts to Undermine Democratic Institutions.
 
- The Intelligence Community should produce election security threat assessments six months before federal elections.
 
- DHS should maintain the designation of election infrastructure as a critical infrastructure subsector.
 
- States should conduct risk-limiting audits to determine vote accuracy after elections.
 
- States should prioritize cybersecurity training for their election officials, IT staff, and poll workers and the federal government must assist in this effort.
 
- DHS should expedite the clearance process for the chief election official in every state and establish channels for sharing relevant threat and intelligence information

 

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