House Democrats will likely push new election security legislation in 2019 when they take over the majority, but obstacles remain in the Senate and the White House. On the administrative side, the Department of Homeland Security and state governments will look to build on cooperative efforts that resulted in the apparently successful 2018 mid-term elections. In the wake of the 2016 elections, state governments, experts and members of Congress have beat the drum for federal legislation to comprehensively address critical cybersecurity flaws in the nation’s election systems. Even after an infusion of $380 million in leftover Help America Vote Act grant funding earlier this year, many states say they continue to face major funding challenges. Earlier this year, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), incoming chair for the House Homeland Security Committee, called the grants “a drop in the bucket” compared to what is needed to secure election systems nationwide. Thompson filed legislation in February that would establish an ongoing pot of money for states to draw from through 2025, phase out reliance on paperless voting machines and boost the number of states who use risk limiting audits to ensure the integrity of election results.
When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is sworn in as Speaker of the House in January, one of her first actions is expected to be H.R. 1, a massive piece of legislation that seeks major reforms campaign finance laws, gerrymandering and expanding access to the vote. Large elements of Thompson’s bill, in particular regular grant funding for security upgrades, are also expected to be included in the package, according to aides on the House Homeland Security Committee.
While that will provide a vehicle for election reform to pass the House, it will likely only represent the opening gambit, as the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to reject the measure, if they even bring it to the floor.
Thompson plans to use his committee’s oversight powers to hold regular hearings to keep the election security issue in the.
Full Article: Election security bills face hurdles in 2019 — FCW.