Democrats are pushing forward with a bill that, unlike competing legislation, would actually require the use of paper ballots and comprehensive audits in all federal elections. Today, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California added their names to a list of co-sponsors of the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act, joining nine others, including Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the bill’s author. The PAVE Act is the only legislation currently proposed that would require nationwide use of so-called “risk-limiting” audits to protect election results from tampering by hackers, from computer glitches and other voting system errors. Moreover, it is the only bill to mandate the use by all states of paper trail printers to verify machine-count outcomes.
In a statement on Wednesday, Sen. Wyden characterized his bill as a “critical, long overdue action” necessitated by U.S. intelligence-backed assessments that American elections face a robust threat of foreign cyber interference, namely from Russia.
“I welcome the support of my colleagues as we continue to see growing momentum in Congress and nationwide to address these challenges head on,” Wyden said.
Earlier this month, General Paul Nakasone, head of U.S. Cyber Command, said the Pentagon and National Security Agency are preparing to conduct operations against a wide range of foreign cyber adversaries; actors, he said, who are “attempting to undermine our nation’s midterm elections.”