The Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Elections has jurisdiction over federal elections, giving it the authority to consider proposals to amend federal election law and monitor congressional elections across the United States.
The Committee takes this responsibility seriously, and has been instrumental to the passage of several significant proposals that improve our election laws. Most significantly, the Committee helped ensure passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter called "the most meaningful improvement in election laws and voting safeguards in a generation".
Election Security Timeline
Today, our elections face a host of new challenges. The Mueller Report, and our intelligence officials, have warned that the Russians interfered in the 2016 elections in a "sweeping and systematic" fashion and that foreign threats continue to target every single state.
Since the 2016 election breach, the Commitee on House Administration has been hard at work to improve our election security:
- June 15, 2017 – Democratic Whip Hoyer and Ranking Member Brady issue statement on the importance of the Election Assistance Commission in light of information on Russian hacking state election systems. In January 2017, Chairman Harper introduced a bill seeking to terminate the agency.
- June 29, 2017 – Leader Pelosi announces a Congressional Task Force on Election Security, chaired by House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady and Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson. The other Members of the Task force are Representatives Zoe Lofgren, James Langevin, Cedric Richmond, and Val Demings.
- August 1, 2017 – Congressional Task Force on Election Security sends a letter to the National Association of Secretaries of State seeking information from state chief election officials about what resources they need in order to secure their elections.
- September 28, 2017 – Congressional Task Force on Election Security holds its first forum, “Securing America’s Elections: Understanding the Threat.” The forum features former Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, and former DHS Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, Suzanne Spaulding.
- October 24, 2017 – Congressional Task Force on Election Security holds its second forum, “Securing America’s Elections: Preparing for 2018 and Beyond.” The forum hears from Rhode Island Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea, Virginia Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés, and Vice Chair of the Election Assistance Commission, Thomas Hicks.
- November 20, 2017 – Congressional Task Force on Election Security sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee to request $400 in remaining Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to help states secure their voting infrastructure.
- December 15, 2017 – Ranking Members Brady and Thompson issue statement applauding the National Association of Secretary of State’s call for Congress to appropriate the remaining $396 million in outstanding HAVA funds.
- December 19, 2017 – House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady leads a letter from House Democrats from 18 of the 21 states whose elections were targeted by Russian hackers in 2016, asking Speaker Ryan to:
- 1) call for an all-Member briefing by DHS and FBI,
- 2) direct the relevant Congressional committees to investigate Russia’s attacks, and
- 3) seek bipartisan solutions to secure our elections.
- January 23, 2018 – Congressional Task Force on Election Security chairs, Ranking Members Brady and Thompson, wrote a letter to DHS Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, seeking clarification on DHS’ election security responsibilities after the demise of the sham Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.
- February 14, 2018 – Congressional Task Force on Election Security releases its final report and legislation, the Election Security Act.
- March 6, 2018 – Democratic Whip Hoyer, the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, and numerous other House Democrats sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking that the EAC receive $14 million in appropriations as well as an additional $400 million in HAVA funds to help states secure their elections in the FY18 Appropriations bill.
- March 19, 2018 – Democratic Whip Hoyer, House Admin Member Jamie Raskin, and 31 other Democrats write to the Appropriations Committee asking for $23 million for the EAC and $1.2 billion in HAVA grants for FY19 for states to secure their elections in advance of the 2020 election.
- May 22, 2018 – House Administration Committee Member, Jamie Raskin, hosts a forum on election security in Rockville, MD. The forum features election security experts Liz Howard from the Brennan Center, Danielle Root from the Center for American Progress, and EAC Vice Chair Thomas Hicks.
- June 20, 2018 – House Administration Democrats send a letter directing EAC to provide guidance to states for how to use election security grants consistent with congressional intent.
- July 12, 2018 – House Administration Democrats release a report detailing the election security preparedness ahead of the 2018 midterms. The report highlights the 18 most vulnerable states.
- July 18, 2018 – House Administration Committee Member Jamie Raskin introduces the Election Vendor Security Act (H.R. 6435) which would prohibit state and localities from hiring an election vendor who is a foreign national or who fails to meet cybersecurity best practices, as prescribed by the Election Assistance Commission and the Department of Homeland Security.
- July 26, 2018 – The Ranking Members of the House Administration Committee, Judiciary Committee, Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Homeland Security Committee send a letter to their respective Committee chairs calling for a joint hearing on election security.
- September 6, 2018 – House Administration Democrats release a statement highlighting the importance of a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineer, and Medicine on their report, “Securing the Vote: Protecting American Democracy.”
- September 12, 2018 – The Ranking Members of House Administration, Homeland Security, and Oversight and Government Reform issue a statement on the President’s executive order “Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election” noting that the EO does nothing to secure our democracy from future attack.
- September 27, 2018 – Congressional Task Force on Election Security co-chairs Ranking Members Brady and Thompson issue a statement call on Congress to act on election security, in light of the DEF CON voting village report showing voting machines are capable of being hacked.
- March 8, 2019 – The House passes historic anti-corruption and democracy legislation, the For the People Act (H.R. 1), that takes numerous steps to secure elections including:
- 1) Providing $1 billion for states to secure and upgrade their voting infrastructure, and switch to machines that provide auditable paper ballots;
- 2) $175 million in ongoing funds for states to respond to evolving threats in the future;
- 3) $20 for states to implement risk-limiting audits; and
- 4) Regulates election vendors to ensure they follow cybersecurity best practices.
- April 10, 2019 – Chairperson Lofgren wrote to state chief election officials and local election officials asking how they spend their portion of the $380 million in appropriated HAVA funds, and what additional funds were needed to secure elections.
- May 8, 2019 – The Committee on House Administration holds on hearing entitled “Election Security” – the Republican-controlled Committee held zero hearings on this subject in the 115th Congress. The witnesses at this hearing were Secretary of State of Michigan, Jocelyn Benson, Joseph Lorenzo Hall (Center for Democracy and Technology), Secretary of State of Alabama, John Merrill, Larry Norden (Brennan Center), and Marian Schneider (Verified Voting).
- May 21, 2019 – The Committee on House Administration holds a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Election Assistance Commission.” The hearing witnesses were all four commissioners of the EAC and covered various topics, including election security. During the 115th Congress, the Republican-controlled Committee did not hold an oversight hearing of the Commission.
- June 27, 2019 – The House passes election security legislation, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2722), to upgrade voting systems and protect our elections against foreign interference. Despite Republican insistence that they care about election security, only 1 Republican voted for the bill. This bill would take the following common sense, widely agreed upon steps to secure elections:
- 1) authorizing $600 million in grants for states to modernize and secure election infrastructure;
- 2) $175 in ongoing funds for states to maintain their election infrastructure and respond to evolving threats;
- 3) mandating that states use voter-verified paper ballots and post-election risk-limiting audits;
- 4) setting strict cybersecurity standards for election technology vendors and voting systems; and
- 5) banning internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted.