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Politico: House Democrats propose major election security legislation

Jan 4, 2019
In the News

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ELECTION SECURITY SMORGASBORD — Today, House Democrats are formally debuting H.R. 1 (116), which includes a substantial helping of election security. A section-by-section summary of the bill, sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes, dictates that states must use paper ballots and that they must be “counted by hand or optical character recognition device.” That’s just one of the provisions it absorbs from last year’s bill co-introduced by House Homeland Chairman Bennie Thompson, who co-chaired the Democrats’ election security task force.

Notably, the bill also establishes security standards for vendors. It authorizes the Election Assistance Commission to distribute grants for improving election systems, paper ballots, post-election risk-limiting audits and election infrastructure innovation. DHS would conduct a threat assessment before elections, while the administration would have to develop an election security strategy and form a commission to counter threats. The bill also would require voting system testing nine months before federal elections.

Another provision would mimic a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley last Congress setting up an election security bug bounty program. And Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, known for its vote-by-mail system, celebrated the inclusion of aspects of their legislation to expand voting by mail.