A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate has introduced a bill designed to protect the technical integrity of American elections as the nation moves toward midterm season. Introduced in the Senate, the bill known as the Secure Elections Act is sponsored by Republican Senators James Lankford, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham, as well as Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris and Martin Heinrich.
“While there is no indication that the Russians were able to change vote totals, we know that Russian actors repeatedly tried to breach state election systems or public websites,” Senator Collins said in a statement accompanying the bill. “Our bipartisan legislation will strengthen the integrity of our election process by ensuring that local voting officials have the information and financial resources they need to secure their voting systems. ”
In similar statements, all of the Senators involved with the bill affirmed that until the U.S. further secures and standardizes its election systems, Russia will continue to pose an existential threat to American democracy. The bill would require federal agencies to promptly share election-related cyber threats with state and local governments, adjust security clearance for state officials that would need to have access to relevant information that might be classified, give states grants to modernize their election systems and create a set of cybersecurity guidelines to protect election systems, including voting machines.
“Russia attacked the very heart of our democracy when they interfered in the 2016 election,” Senator Harris said. “With the 2018 elections just around the corner, Russia will be back to interfere again.”