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With election security efforts humming along at the state and local level, Congress could (at long last) join the work this week with amendments to the Department of Homeland Security re-authorization bill. The Hill newspaper has more:
The coming week could bring movement on legislation aimed at securing U.S. voting infrastructure from cyber threats.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said [last week] that she and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) are planning to introduce an amendment to a bill reauthorizing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that would help states modernize their election systems.
Harris and Lankford are both sponsors of the Secure Elections Act [S.2261], a bill they introduced in December that would set up a grant program for states to replace outdated paperless voting machines and take other steps to bolster cybersecurity.
Harris said at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting that the amendment will implement “bipartisan election security measures to modernize election cybersecurity across America and protect against foreign interference on future elections.”
The lawmakers are hoping to attach the amendment to legislation that would reauthorize Homeland Security for the first time since it was created in the early 2000s. In July, the House passed its version of the bill, which would implement a number of reforms to Homeland Security’s operations.
Leaders of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are currently working on the upper chamber’s version of the bill. The panel is expected to consider the legislation as soon as the coming week.
Congressional action – and specifically funding – would be crucial for the current work on election security. As states and localities work to secure the nation’s election systems from outside interference, they are also increasingly aware of the need for more money to ensure the job is done right. Here’s hoping this amendment means Congress will (finally!) get off the sidelines and into the game.
Stay tuned …