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November 20, 2017

Election Security Task Force Requests Funding for State Election Security, Replacing Outdated Voting Machines

(WASHINGTON) – The Congressional Task Force on Election Security, chaired by Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-PA) sent a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to request funding to help states secure their voting infrastructure.

Russia’s unprecedented assault on the country’s elections in 2016, targeting 21 states’ voting systems, exposed the urgent need to protect these systems – which includes voting machines and voter registration databases. Currently, there is nearly $400 million remaining from the 2002 Help America Vote Act that could be used for this purpose. The Brennan Center for Justice has reported that replacing outdated, paperless voting machines would cost up to $400 million. Although the election was over a year ago, federal election security action has been nonexistent. Just last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted to Congress that he had “not followed through” to ensure that the 2018 elections are secure.

Congressman Thompson and Congressman Brady released the following statement along with their letter:

“When a sovereign nation attempts to meddle in our elections, it is an attack on our country.  We created the Task Force on Election Security to better understand what can be done to protect our elections going forward.  Finding that voting machines and voter databases can be easily hacked, there is a clear and urgent need for federal funding to help states secure their elections. We cannot leave states on their own to defend against the sophisticated tactics of state actors like Russia. The money that states desperately need to take crucial security steps is available and can be appropriated right now.  We urge our colleagues in Congress to recognize with us that ensuring the security of our election systems is a bipartisan issue.  With the next federal election less than a year away, Congress must act now.”

Link to Letter to Appropriations

Task Force Preliminary Findings and Recommendations

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Media contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Brady) Peter Whippy at 202-225-1943