Maryland lawmakers have introduced two U.S. House bills seeking to better safeguard election systems following the disclosure that a state election software vendor had ties to a Russian investor. A measure by Democratic Rep. John Delaney and Republican Rep. Andy Harris would mandate that vendors associated with federal elections be owned and controlled by U.S. companies. The legislation follows last week’s disclosure by state legislative leaders in Annapolis that, without the state’s knowledge, a Russian investor had bought a local software vendor that maintains part of the State Board of Elections’ voter registration system.
“What’s happened in Maryland is very alarming and demands a legislative response,” Delaney said in a written statement. “We have to take concrete steps to protect our elections infrastructure, because the integrity of the system is essential to the integrity of our democracy. Importantly, this is a bipartisan bill and I appreciate Congressman Harris’s partnership and understanding that this is bigger than politics.”
General Assembly leaders asked Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh to investigate the contract, and requested that federal officials help the elections board review the system to ensure that there have been no breaches.
The vendor, ByteGrid LLC, says the investor has no access to Maryland’s voting system.