Efforts are growing in Congress to give states more federal help on cybersecurity, amid heightened fears about the vulnerability of state data systems. A flurry of bills introduced this month would compel the federal government to share resources and assistance with state and local governments to fix cyber vulnerabilities and prepare for hacks. At least one of the bills deals specifically with securing voting systems in the wake of Russia’s cyberattacks on political organizations during the 2016 campaign. That bill, introduced by Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly (Va.) and Jim Langevin (R.I.), would offer grants to encourage states to use newer and more secure voting systems. It would also give grants to states for boosting access to the polls. “In 43 of the 50 states, we’re dealing with outdated voting equipment more than a decade old,” Connolly told The Hill. “We had Russian hacking, and we want to make sure people can feel secure about voting.”
… In one of its final acts, the Obama administration had designated voting infrastructure as “critical,” bringing federal protections to polling places, databases and other systems in states that ask for the help.
At the time, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson acknowledged that the move was unpopular among many state and local election officials. He sought to reassure state and local officials that the assistance wasn’t intended to be a “federal takeover” of the election system.
Still, dozens of states requested help from DHS in securing their voting systems ahead of the election, following reports that election databases in Illinois and Arizona had suffered breaches.
Full Article: Lawmakers eye cyber help for states | TheHill.