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March 08, 2018

What is the Trump Administration’s Election Security Study?

(WASHINGTON) – The co-chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, Committee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson and Committee on House Administration Robert Brady, sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to request more information following the President’s comments Tuesday indicating the existence of an election security study taking place at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Time is running out to secure our elections from Russian interference and meddling.  The 2018 federal elections are only eight months away and primary elections have already begun. 

We are writing with respect to statements made by President Donald Trump yesterday recommending the use of paper ballots in state-run elections and referring to a “very, very deep study” on the issue of paper ballots conducted by “[v]arious agencies, including Homeland Security.” 

While we appreciate the President’s full-throated endorsement for paper ballots, there are a number of details about the scope, timeline, goals, and deliverables of the study that the President did not address in his statement. We would like to understand the role that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has played in conducting this study, as well as the efforts of its interagency partners.

As co-chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, we have been vocal about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines and the need for a verifiable, auditable paper trail. However, replacing state voting systems takes a great deal of time and money – and many states have neither. In fact, by the time President Trump declared yesterday that “we're coming out with I think some very strong suggestions on the '18 election,” many Texas voters had already cast their ballots in the state primary election.  The 2018 election season is here, and the time to secure voting infrastructure is running out. Nevertheless, there are five states that continue to rely on paperless voting systems. 

Link to Letter

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Media contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Brady) Peter Whippy at 202-225-3072