Lofgren Joins Democrats Requesting Funding to Help Secure Elections from Russian Interference
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), joined Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and the Co-Chairs of the Task Force on Election Security, Reps. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), in a letter to the House Appropriations Committee to express support for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and to request that the EAC receive $14 million so it can continue to assist states in their urgent efforts to secure voting systems in advance of the 2018 midterm elections.
The Election Security Act, introduced by Lofgren and members of the Election Security Task Force, would provide $1.7 billion for states such as California to replace aging, less secure voting machines with paper ballots, to secure their IT systems and voter databases, and train personnel on cybersecurity.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, California was one of twenty-one states targeted by Russian hackers in the 2016 elections.
At a press conference today, Lofgren said:
"It's been more than a year since the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued its report assessing Russian activities and intentions in the 2016 elections. The report's findings were very clear: The Russian government directed efforts spread disinformation to the American electorate designed to undermine faith in our democracy. And the Russian government actively targeted voting systems in at least 21 states, attempting to infiltrate equipment vendors, political parties, and local election boards. This is an attack on our Democracy, and it must be taken seriously. But here we are – more than a year later – and the Trump Administration along with the Republican Congress have done nothing to prevent a future attack on our elections."
The members also request $400 million under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) for states to use to replace aging and vulnerable voting machines with paper ballots and to provide cybersecurity training.
With the first primary of the 2018 election season being held today, the next federal election is only months away and timing to secure our elections from Russian meddling is critical.
Excerpts from letter:
Intelligence officials continue to warn that our state-based electoral system is a target for foreign meddling and cyber-attacking, and we believe this money is necessary to protect American elections against the possibility of imminent attack.
The EAC is the only federal agency charged with making American elections more secure, accessible, accurate, and transparent. It has built strong relationships with state and local election officials as well as cybersecurity experts, and has been vital to helping states understand and respond to the threats confronting their election infrastructure. The EAC has worked diligently, with a bare-bones budget, over the past few years to provide guidance on cybersecurity and election technology. But at this critical time, the Commission needs additional resources to fully respond to the needs of the states.
We cannot leave states to their own devices in defending against the sophisticated cyber tactics of foreign governments. An attack on the electoral infrastructure in one state is an attack on all of democracy in America.
We urge you to fully fund HAVA and provide the EAC with the support it needs so that the federal government can meaningfully assist states in securing our election systems.
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