A law bill was introduced today to the US Senate designed to safeguard American elections from hacking by miscreants or manipulation by Russian or other foreign agents. The Securing America’s Voting Equipment (SAVE) Act [PDF] would designate elections systems as part of the US national critical infrastructure, task the Comptroller General of the United States with checking the integrity of voting machines, and sponsor a “Hack the election” competition to find flaws in voting machines. “Our democracy hinges on protecting Americans’ ability to fairly choose our own leaders. We must do everything we can to protect the security and integrity of our elections,” said cosponsor Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). “The SAVE Act would ensure states are better equipped to develop solutions and respond to threats posed to election systems. Until we set up stronger protections of our election systems and take the necessary steps to prevent future foreign influence campaigns, our nation’s democratic institutions will remain vulnerable.”
If passed by both the House of Reps as well as the Senate, and signed into law by President Trump, the proposed legislation would instruct the Director of National Intelligence to perform a security clearance check on the chief election official of each state and one designee, and – after they passed – would keep them updated on current and projected hacking threats.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security would be given the job of developing a threat assessment model for hacking election systems and develop a best practice guide to protect them. States would also get a grant to buy new, and hopefully more secure, voting machines.