Warnings from the national intelligence community point to a “serious threat” to the nation’s voting system, and immediate changes are needed in Tennessee to avoid a compromised 2018 election cycle, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper said. The Democrat told reporters at his Nashville office Friday the country’s six top intelligence chiefs have unanimously acknowledged the U.S. election system, which depends on accuracy at the state and local level, has been targeted and is open to compromise. Cooper called for a paper ballot back-up system to electronic voting machines and for at least $28 million in state-held federal funds to pay for it. He also urged state lawmakers now in session to form a special committee to look into digital security gaps ripe for hacking.
“Tennessee has more money on hand than almost every other state, and it’s a sign of our prudent management here in the state of Tennessee,” he said. “We should be thankful Tennessee is more prepared in this regard than almost any other state. We also should be thankful the legislature is still in session.”
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, among other intelligence chiefs, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington Tuesday. “Frankly, the United States is under attack,” Coats told the committee.
Cooper said his call to action comes as Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and other secretaries of state from across the nation are attending a security briefing in Washington D.C. on the matter this weekend.