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May 10, 2019

Thompson, Lofgren, Sarbanes Introduce Comprehensive Election Security Legislation

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Chairperson of the Committee on House Administration, and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, introduced H.R. 2660, the Election Security Act – legislation to help protect our elections against malevolent attacks and foreign interference.  Russia’s unprecedented assault on the country’s elections in 2016 exposed serious national security vulnerabilities to our election infrastructure and democratic institutions.

The Election Security Act would:

  • Require states use paper ballots.
  • Establish cybersecurity standards for voting systems vendors.
  • Fund grants for states to improve and maintain the security of their election systems, to provide cybersecurity training to election officials, and to implement post-election risk limiting audits.
  • Require the DNI to assess threats to election systems 180 days before an election and require DHS and the Election Assistance Commission to issue recommendations to address threats.
  • Require the testing of voting systems nine months before an election.
  • Require the President to produce a national strategy for protecting democratic institutions.
  • Create a National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions.

Chairman Thompson released the following statement on the bill:

“With the 2020 elections just 18 months away, we cannot afford to be complacent about the security of our elections. Nothing less than the integrity of our democracy is at stake. Russia successfully attacked our elections in 2016 and it is clear they will try to again next year. Despite repeated warnings from well-respected national security officials the White House has failed to lead a whole-of-government effort to keep our adversaries out of our elections, so Congress will step up.  Our top priority will be to ensure that the full range of capabilities from across the Federal government are brought to bear to support the states in the shared responsibility of election security. Protecting the integrity of our elections should not be a partisan issue. I strongly urge my Republican colleagues to join us and start handling this issue with the seriousness and urgency it demands. The American people deserve no less than full confidence in their vote.  I intend to help move this legislation through the House swiftly.”

Chairperson Lofgren released the below statement on moving the Election Security Act:

“No matter your side of the aisle, our oath to the Constitution is fundamental. Federal action is needed now to protect our voting systems which are at the core of our democracy. Solutions that can be implemented before the next federal election cycle in 2020 are essential and why I intend to quickly call up an election security bill for consideration in the Committee on House Administration.”

Congressman Sarbanes added the following statement:

“With our intelligence agencies increasingly warning us about the impending foreign attacks on our elections in 2020, we must act quickly to shore up our defenses and protect our democracy,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “The Election Security Act – a key provision of the historic H.R. 1 reform effort – will give states the resources they need to protect the integrity of our election system. I commend Chairman Thompson and Chairperson Lofgren for their leadership in swiftly moving this urgent effort forward.”

The Election Security Act was originally introduced by Congressman Thompson last year after he Co-Chaired the Congressional Task Force on Election Security. Congresswoman Lofgren was also a member of the Task Force. Major provisions of the legislation were included in H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which was sponsored by Congressman Sarbanes and passed the House earlier this year.

Bill One Page Summary

Bill Text

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Media contacts:

(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Lofgren) Peter Whippy at 202-225-7043
(Sarbanes) Daniel Jacobs at 202-225-4016