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September 27, 2018

Election Security Task Force Co-Chairs Call for Congressional Action following DEF CON Voting Village Report

(WASHINGTON) - Today, U.S. Representatives Robert A. Brady (D-PA) and Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), co-Chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, issued the following statement after the Voting Machine Hacking Village at DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, released a report demonstrating the serious vulnerabilities to our nation’s voting systems: 

“Hackers at DEF CON have once again ably demonstrated that our voting systems are at grave risk. This year, they found one voting machine could be compromised in just two minutes with a ball point pen. They found Secretary of State election websites can be hacked by an 11-year old in as little time as ten minutes. And they found that vendors have been aware of flaws in their products yet have refused to take the necessary steps to harden their systems.

“However, for those of us who have followed the state of our nation’s election infrastructure, none of this is new information.  As co-chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, we have known for years that our nation’s voting systems are vulnerable. Our taskforce report made clear that Congress must take action to prevent future attacks. In February, House Democrats introduced the Election Security Act that would provide states with the funds they need to upgrade their voting systems, hire necessary IT support, and regulate election vendors.  Despite having 123 co-sponsors, Republicans in Congress have prevented this bill from getting a single hearing, let alone a markup.  In July, House Republican appropriators unanimously blocked an amendment to provide the necessary funds for states to protect their election systems from another attack. 

“Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated their disinterest in protecting American democracy.  A Democratic majority in the House of Representatives next year will make election security a top priority – including conducting oversight to determine what exactly our adversaries are up to, and passing legislation to give states the money they need to protect their voting systems from foreign attack.”

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Peter Whippy (House Administration) 202-225-3072
Adam Comis (Homeland Security) 202-225-9978