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February 08, 2017

Congress Must Protect Electoral Systems & Preserve Election Assistance Commission

(WASHINGTON) – Yesterday, the Committee on House Administration voted on party lines to eliminate the independent Election Assistance Commission.  The EAC was created to help states upgrade voting technology and promote critical election-related information sharing.  Having up-to-date voting machine technology is critical to ensure they are protected from any potential hacking, tampering, or fraud. 

This inexplicable move willfully ignores the present-day threats to election infrastructure.  In fact, yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stated to Congress: “I believe we should help all of the states, provide them as much help as we can to make sure their systems are protected in future elections” (VIDEO of exchange with Rep. Cedric Richmond). He also noted that protecting the nation’s electoral systems should be a priority under the National Infrastructure Protection Plan.  Additionally, President Trump has said that our election systems were compromised in the 2016 election and millions illegitimately voted.  Those allegations are reported to be investigated by the White House under a commission that lacks the independence of the EAC.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, released the following statement on the change:

“The danger of cyber attacks from state and non-state actors is constantly escalating and evolving and Americans must be confident that we are addressing this threat. Congress cannot abdicate this responsibility while the President sends Federal investigators on a wild goose chase to search for millions and millions of non-existent illegal votes.  Given public unease regarding Russia’s extensive interference with the recent Presidential election, Congress should be doing more, not less, to ensure the integrity of our electoral systems.  Our legitimacy as Congress is only as legitimate as strength and security of the ballot box. This is a shameful, partisan move by House Republicans that undermines our democracy.”

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, added the following:

“Voting is a fundamental right and the foundation of our democracy and it is essential that we maintain confidence in the integrity of the ballot box. Now that constant cyber-attacks are our new reality, taking the appropriate security measures is more important than ever. If we are serious about protecting our electoral process we need to continue to make smart investments like the EAC that will help us reach that goal.”

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978