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Rep. Gabbard Introduces Securing America’s Elections Act

March 28, 2019, 5:58 PM HST (Updated March 28, 2019, 5:58 PM)
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard re-introduced the Securing America’s Elections Act (H.R.1946) on Thursday, March 28, 2019. The bill would address the extreme vulnerabilities within our nation’s elections infrastructure, leaving voters susceptible to potential hacking and manipulation of votes. It would require the use of voter-verified paper ballots or a paper ballot backup in federal elections that if needed, can be audited and counted by hand, optical scanner, or similar device. It would establish voter-verified paper ballots as the correct record of the total votes cast, in the event of any inconsistencies or irregularities between electronic and paper vote tallies. Furthermore, the bill includes language addressing open-source technology to further strengthen our elections infrastructure.

“The American people need to have faith and trust in America’s elections infrastructure and that the votes they cast will be counted,” said Rep. Gabbard. “My bill ensures our upcoming elections are hack-proof by providing the American people with an auditable, reliable, paper record of their votes, protecting against anyone who seeks to manipulate or change the outcome of our elections. Congress must act now to protect our votes and our democracy by passing this legislation.”

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“Common Cause appreciates Congresswoman Gabbard’s efforts, as well as the efforts of other Members of Congress, to secure our elections against malicious attacks,” said Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs with Common Cause. “The Securing America’s Elections Act would help protect our elections by requiring the use of a voter-verified paper ballot, which would help prevent foreign entities from trying to undermine our democracy.”

Background: According to the Department of Homeland Security, 21 U.S. states’ electoral systems faced attempted hacking in the 2016 election. Shortly after, at the world’s longest-running and largest hacking conference, DEFCON 25 revealed startling cyber vulnerabilities in US election infrastructure. In 2017, during an Oversight Committee hearing, Rep. Gabbard highlighted Virginia’s move to a voter-verified paper ballot system following the DEFCON revelations. The Virginia Department of Elections stated they did not receive a single complaint questioning the integrity of the 2017 election and produced the highest voter turnout in two decades. DEFCON also released a new report detailing further vulnerabilities and the need for public funds to address them.

The Securing America’s Elections Act will complement other legislative efforts supported by Rep. Gabbard to protect and promote voter enfranchisement including the voting rights provisions in H.R.1 the For the People Act of 2019, H.R.51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and H.R.645, the Automatic Voter Registration Act.

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