A bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee raised concerns Wednesday about the election voting systems provided by one of the largest vendors in the United States, questioning whether the company is doing enough to safeguard itself from hackers. Four committee members wrote in a letter they were disappointed that Election Systems & Software (ES&S) has not agreed to undergo independent testing to determine the security level of its systems. The letter comes after an annual hacking conference earlier this month appeared to reveal security vulnerabilities in ES&S voting systems. “We are concerned that ES&S and other election system providers may not be prepared for the growing threats to our elections,” Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to the company.
The senators criticized ES&S for its refusal to allow independent testing of its systems at the popular DEFCON convention, where hackers attempted to find ways to exploit voting technology.
“We are disheartened that ES&S chose to dismiss these demonstrations as unrealistic and that your company is not supportive of independent testing,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter to CEO Tom Burt. “We believe that independent testing is one of the most effective ways to understand and address potential cybersecurity risks.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Intelligence panel, separately slammed ES&S on Wednesday for failing to provide answers to basic questions about its cybersecurity practices.
“It is inexcusable that American democracy depends on hackable voting technology made by a handful of companies that have evaded oversight and stonewalled Congress. That must end,” Wyden said during a Senate Rules Committee hearing, according to a transcript of his remarks.