Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a multifaceted election cybersecurity bill Tuesday, including a bug bounty program for systems manufacturers and a grant program for states to upgrade technology. “While the Intelligence Committee’s investigation is still ongoing, one thing is clear: The Russians were very active in trying to influence the 2016 election and will continue their efforts to undermine public confidence in democracies,” said Collins in a statement celebrating the bill. “The fact that the Russians probed the election-related systems of 21 states is truly disturbing, and it must serve as a call to action to assist states in hardening their defenses against foreign adversaries that seek to compromise the integrity of our election process.”
On a federal level, the Securing America’s Voting Equipment (SAVE) Act would codify former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s declaration that elections are critical infrastructure. That would create a wealth of new, optional resources for states to use to harden election systems.
It would ensure that states had officials with a security clearance to obtain classified threat intelligence from the director of national intelligence and authorize the director to share that intelligence.
The bill would also provide direct assistance to the states through a grant program to upgrade election infrastructure that has been demonstrated to be unsecure.