WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats launched laws on Wednesday that would supply greater than $1 billion to spice up cyber security of U.S. voting techniques, and Vice President Mike Pence defended the administration’s efforts to guard polls from hackers.
The measure adopted warnings on Tuesday from U.S. intelligence officers that midterm races in November are prone to see renewed meddling from Russia and presumably different overseas adversaries.
“We cannot let the Russians laugh about and take joy in the success they had in the last election,” Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic chief within the House of Representatives, informed a information convention. “Their goal is to undermine democracy.”
Lawmakers have launched a number of payments, some with bipartisan help, to bolster election security for the reason that 2016 polls wherein Republican Donald Trump was elected president. None have develop into legislation.
The new bill is essentially the most complete up to now and is aimed toward bolstering safety for the midterms and subsequent elections. It has no Republican co-sponsors within the House, which the occasion controls, and is due to this fact unlikely to succeed.
Pence, talking at an occasion hosted by the net information website Axios, stated Americans may belief the 2016 election outcomes and that it was an “ongoing effort” of Trump’s administration to guard election infrastructure.
He additionally incorrectly stated it was the “universal conclusion” amongst intelligence companies that Moscow’s efforts had no affect on the 2016 election consequence.
The companies stated in a January 2017 report that no evaluation was made in regards to the affect of Russian meddling however that Russia used hacking and propaganda to attempt to tilt the election in Trump’s favor. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied this.
A Pence consultant didn’t reply instantly to a request to make clear the discrepancy between Pence’s feedback and the intelligence evaluation.
The Democrats’ Election Security Act would allocate $1 billion in grants, overseen by the U.S. Election Commission, this yr to assist states purchase voting machines that incorporate backup paper ballots, rent security workers and conduct danger assessments.
It would supply as much as an extra $175 million in 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2025, for a complete of about $1.75 billion.
The measure would create a $20 million grant program for states to carry out post-election audits. It would additionally require the Department of Homeland Security to expedite security clearances for state election officers and direct the president to develop a technique to protect U.S. establishments, together with elections, from cyber assaults and affect operations.
The division stated final yr 21 states had skilled preliminary probing of their techniques from Russian hackers and a small variety of networks have been compromised.
Virtually all 50 states have taken steps for the reason that 2016 election to buy safer tools, broaden using paper ballots, enhance cyber coaching or search federal help, in line with teams that observe election security.
However, Congress has not offered more cash or help and lawmakers have didn’t allocate $400 million in leftover election enchancment funds pledged 16 years in the past.
Reporting by Dustin Volz; further reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jim Finkle, Ian Simpson and Paul Tait