Critical Infrastructure

House bill would strengthen election cybersecurity, auditing

A bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives would provide federal assistance to states for strengthening their cybersecurity.

The Protecting the American Process for Election Results (PAPER) Act, introduced by Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Langevin, D-R.I., is the House companion to the Klobuchar-Graham amendment to the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act, currently under debate.

“The bill directs the Election Assistance Commission, after consulting with state and federal stakeholders, to formulate Security Risk and Vulnerability Assessment recommendations for states to harden their cybersecurity and develop post-election auditing standards to ensure elections have not been manipulated,” according to a House announcement.

“States that adhere to such guidelines will be eligible to receive federal Election Technology Improvement Grants — funding that allows for needed system and security updates.”

Not surprisingly, in light of evidence that Russia hacked electronic voting machines in the 2016 election, the bill would also “require voting machines purchased with federal funds to pair votes cast electronically with a paper record, visible to the voter.”

In addition, each federal election would be followed by a manual audit of a random sample of paper ballots before the election results would be certified.

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