A new bipartisan Senate bill seeks to boost the level of federal support to state local officials in order to protect the nation’s election infrastructure from foreign cyber interference. The Secure Elections Act would authorize block grants for states to upgrade their voting machines, direct the Department of Homeland Security to “promptly” share election cybersecurity threat information with state and local governments and empower state and local election officials with the necessary security clearances to review classified threat information. The bill is sponsored by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.).
“It is imperative that we strengthen our election systems and give the states the tools they need to protect themselves and the integrity of voters against the possibility of foreign interference,” said Lankford in a statement. “In this new digital age, we should ensure the states have the resources they need to protect our election infrastructure.”
Harris said Russia “attacked the very heart” of U.S. democracy in 2016 and warned that action is needed before the 2018 mid-term elections.