Chairperson Zoe Lofgren Opening Remarks at Committee Markup of H.R. 2722, the SAFE Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the following statement at today’s markup of H.R. 2722, the SAFE Act, an election security bill to provide funding for states to replace outdated and vulnerable voting equipment, mandate paper ballot voting systems and risk-limiting post-election audits, and contains strict cybersecurity requirements for election technology vendors and voting systems, among other provisions:
Chairperson Zoe Lofgren Opening Remarks as Delivered
Committee on House Administration Markup of H.R. 2722, the SAFE Act
“This morning we will consider H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act – a targeted bill to modernize our nation’s election infrastructure and respond to the ongoing attacks on our democracy.
“As we all should know and now appreciate, our country suffered “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election” in the 2016 presidential election. When outsiders meddle in our elections, it’s an attack on our country and we cannot leave states to defend against the sophisticated cyber tactics of state actors on their own.
“While we have made modest progress to bolster our defenses, it’s clear from the analysis of our intelligence community and a host of independent experts from across the political spectrum that more must be done. Our states and local governments need the resources, know-how and support to harden our election infrastructure before Americans head to the polls.
“In a little over two hundred days, New Hampshire will hold the first primary election of the 2020 election cycle.
“We must act now.
“This, we know, is not a partisan perspective.
“’The warning lights are blinking red.’ To be very clear, that is not my assessment, but the Administration’s Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, speaking about foreign attacks on our elections a little under a year ago.
“’We recognize that our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game.’” Yet again, that is not my analysis – but instead the Administration’s own FBI Director, Christopher Wray, who recently that said our adversaries treated the 2018 midterms as a ‘dress rehearsal for the big show’ of the 2020 presidential elections.
“Today we will act. This critical package of legislative reforms will begin to respond with the urgency these stark warnings deserve.
The SAFE Act will:
- Require voting systems to use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation;
- Expand risk-limiting audits, equipping our states with the systems needed to ensure the accuracy of the vote tallies in an efficient manner;
- Authorize a $600 million Election Assistance Commission grant program to assist in securing election infrastructure, while providing states with $175 million in biannual sustainment funding to help maintain election infrastructure – this initial $600 million is being appropriated by the Financial Services and General Government Accounting Appropriations bill;
- It will foster accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation and much needed cyber security deadlines; and
- Implement cyber security safeguards to protect our systems from attack, including prohibition on wireless communications devices and a prohibition on election system internet interconnectivity.
“Ultimately, the SAFE Act will improve the resilience of American election – a goal I know that we all share.
“Today is an opportunity to work together as a Congress to counter attacks on elections.
“And I now recognize Ranking Member Davis for any opening statement he may have.”
# # #