(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) has introduced the Election Vendor Security Act (EVSA), which addresses vulnerabilities in our election systems that could be exploited by foreign actors. Representatives Hoyer (MD-05), Sarbanes (MD-03), Cummings (MD-07), Delaney (MD-06), Ruppersberger (MD-02), Brown (MD-04), Brady (PA-01), Lofgren (CA-19), and Meng (NY-06) are cosponsors of the EVSA.
Raskin introduced the legislation after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informed Maryland officials that a Russian oligarch had invested in one of the state’s voting software vendors in 2015 without the state’s knowledge. Although no evidence of specific wrongdoing has surfaced in Maryland’s elections, the report has raised serious concerns.
Raskin’s bill requires election vendors to be owned and controlled by a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and disclose whether vendors are using foreign-made parts in their products and software. It also would require vendors to adhere to cybersecurity best practices, as developed by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and would require them to report known or suspected cybersecurity threats to state authorities and EAC and DHS within 10 days.
Raskin serves on the Committee on House Administration, which oversees the EAC, the only federal agency charged with making elections more secure, accessible, accurate, and transparent.
“We know that Russian hackers targeted and hacked into our election systems in 2016,” said Congressman Raskin. “These attacks exposed serious national security vulnerabilities in our election infrastructure, including voter registration databases and the private networks of election technology vendors. We also know from American intelligence that Russian interference poses a continuing threat to our voting systems. But our GOP colleagues have refused to take action to safeguard our elections ahead of the 2018 midterms. We urge all our colleagues to take this threat seriously and to pass the Election Vendor Security Act without delay.”
“I want to thank Rep. Raskin for his steadfast commitment to safeguarding our nation’s election systems and for introducing this legislation,” said Whip Hoyer. “Protecting the integrity of our election systems must be a top priority of Congress. The intelligence community made clear that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. President Trump’s continuing failure to address this threat to our democracy requires that Congress do everything in its power to ensure that our states are prepared and our election systems are secure for the 2018 election.”
“The Election Security Task Force found in February that election vendors are a tempting target for hackers,” said Congressman Brady, Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration. “Breaching an election technology vendor has the potential to provide a hacker access to numerous election jurisdictions. But despite these risks, there is currently no way to ensure that vendors are doing everything possible to keep their systems secure. This must change. Congress should pass this legislation to ensure vendors are prioritizing election security.”
“Through intelligence agency reports, we know that Russian hackers targeted election vendors during the 2016 elections,” said Congresswoman Lofgren, Member of the Committee on House Administration. “Attacks like these could cause havoc with state voter registration databases. An even worse scenario would be efforts to alter even the results of elections. Despite these threats, currently there are no incentives for election technology vendors to prioritize strong cybersecurity. Today’s legislation will help ensure vendors are doing everything possible to protect their systems.”
“We must use every tool at our disposal to protect state election systems from cyberattacks,” said Congressman Sarbanes, Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force. “Russia targeted at least 39 state election systems in 2016, and without question, they’re coming for us again in November. This bill will help harden our election infrastructure and better protect us from foreign interference.”
“Protecting the integrity of our elections should be a priority for any administration, both on the federal and state level,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “It is clear that Vladimir Putin’s Russia and his network of oligarchs infiltrated and meddled in our elections. The threat of Russian meddling is still present, and many in the administration have warned that Russia is still actively attempting to undermine our democracy. Any involvement, then, of Russian oligarchs in the ownership or operation of our election systems should come under additional scrutiny from local, state and the federal government.”
“All Americans deserve elections that are secure and what happened in Maryland should be a wakeup call, because it shows there are vulnerabilities in our system. Congress should take concrete steps to protect our elections infrastructure, because the integrity of the system is essential to the integrity of our democracy,” said Congressman John K. Delaney.
“Russian interference in the 2016 election is a fact,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng. “Unfortunately, President Trump struggles to accept that truth from his own U.S. intelligence agencies led by officials he appointed and would rather side with Russian President Putin. This is deeply disturbing and underscores the need to strengthen our election security. I’m proud to join Rep. Raskin’s bill that would provide an added layer of security for our elections.”