A legislative proposal aimed at securing U.S. election systems from cyberattack is picking up additional support in the Senate as lawmakers grapple with how to respond to Russian election interference. The bill, spearheaded by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), is designed to help states upgrade their digital voting systems and boost information sharing between state and federal officials on potential cyber threats to U.S. elections. The bill picked up new cosponsors in Sens. Mike Rounds and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Armed Services cyber subcommittee, on Tuesday. Lankford is also hoping that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for launching cyberattacks in an effort to interfere with the 2016 election will add more urgency to passing the bill.
“It was further evidence in great detail that the Russian not only were trying to engage, but how they were engaged,” Lankford told The Hill in an interview Wednesday.
The bill is necessary to ensure confidence in future votes and securing state systems, he said, and future elections will be more at risk from hacking or interference if it is not passed.
“Anytime you have any spot where you have a weak link, that’s going to be your vulnerability in the future,” Lankford said.