ELECTION SECURITY UPDATES_

Every day, national security and election interference are leading issues on Capitol Hill. Two bipartisan bills have passed the Senate by unanimous consent in the past two months.


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 Here’s the latest:

  • August 19 - Twitter and Facebook suspended numerous accounts believes to be tied to a state-backed information campaign originating from inside China. Twitter will ban state-controlled media entities from advertising on the platform.

  • August 15 - Kentucky Director of Elections Jared Dearing told the Election Assistance Commission, "The cliff that is looming before us is that we are failing to fund [local officials] appropriately for critical infrastructure in their own offices...We need more [election security funding]."

  • August 15 - Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) said additional federal funding is the best way Congress can help states shore up election security and ward off cyberattacks.

  • August 13 - House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) sends a letter to the Committee calling on the chairman to hold hearings and develop a "legislative roadmap to combat Russian interference in future elections."

  • August 13 - President Trump reiterates his call for election security reform to require voter identification proposals.

  • August 9 - The top cybersecurity official at Homeland Security said that backup paper ballots would be a necessary part of 2020 election security and that "Congress has a role" to play in election security and those conversations need to happen "with greater speed and greater aggressiveness."

  • August 8 - Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Michael Waltz (R-FL) requested a follow-up briefing from officials at the Justice Department, FBI, and Homeland Security for the full Florida congressional delegation. They both also sponsored the Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security (ALERTS Act), H.R. 3529, in July.

  • August 6 - U.S. CyberDome, a nonprofit, begins offering free cybersecurity services to political campaigns and parties. Its board of advisers includes former Homeland Security Secretaries Jeh Johnson and Michael Chertoff, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell. 

  • August 2 - The Washington Post Editorial Board endorses the DETER Act, legislation sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD). 

  • August 2 - Politico launches an ongoing investigation into the weaknesses of paperless voting systems across the United States.

  • July 31 - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tells reporters he’s “open to suggestions” and that maybe both parties can “reach an agreement” to further improve election security.

  • July 31 - Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) supports greater election security but emphasizes that he does not want to federalize state election operations. 

  • June 30 - President Donald Trump calls for requiring valid identification to vote and the use of paper ballots as backups.

  • July 30 - Reps. Brian Mast (R-FL) and Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) co-sponsor the Honest Ads Act. 

  • July 30 - U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) co-sponsors the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections (FIRE) Act.

  • July 29 - Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) send a letter urging their colleagues on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to consider adding their DETER Act to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 final conference report. 

  • June 27 - PASSED: U.S. House passes the Securing America's Federal Elections (SAFE) Act which would invest in upgrades to help secure voting systems against foreign intrusion.

  • July 25 - The New York Times reports that Facebook’s political advertising library - voluntarily developed to fight foreign disinformation - is deeply flawed and unreliable.

  • July 25 - The Senate Intelligence Committee releases its report on the 2016 election interference by Russia, highlighting that there are systemic weaknesses at the state and local levels. 

  • July 24 - Special Counsel Robert Mueller warns that Russia continues to try and interfere in our elections and that in 2020, other foreign actors will join them. 

  • July 23 - FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies to Congress that, “The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections…” and that “until they stop, they haven’t been deterred enough.”

  • July 21 - Election Assistance Commission emphasizes that states need to ensure elections are secure and accessible. 

  • July 18 - States need additional funding to address election security vulnerabilities, according to a new report by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, Brennan Center for Justice, R Street, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security.

  • July 17 - PASSED: U.S. Senate unanimously passes the bipartisan Defending Integrity of Voting Systems Act that makes hacking into any voting systems used in federal elections a crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

  • July 17 - 10 Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State plead for more money to defend and modernize their voting systems.

  • July 16 - Issue One delivers a letter to every member of Congress urging bipartisan action to defend against foreign interference in our elections. 

  • July 15 - Issue One’s Don’t Mess With US project delivers election security background materials to every U.S. Senate office. 

  • June 26 - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says private companies do not have the tools to stop Russia from interfering in U.S. elections and need help from governments to be successful.

  • June 25 - Reps. Gregory Steube (R-FL) and Lori Trahan (D-MA) co-sponsor the Honest Ads Act.

  • June 4 - PASSED: U.S. Senate unanimously passes the bipartisan Defending Elections Against Trolls from Enemy Regimes (DETER) Act which prevents foreign actors who have interfered in our elections from entering the United States. 

  • May 23 - The Federal Election Commission approves a request from the nonprofit Defending Digital Campaigns allowing it to offer free cybersecurity services to political campaigns. Veteran Republican and Democratic campaign managers Matt Rhoades and Robby Mook serve on its board, as well as Debora Plunkett, former director at the National Security Agency.