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Republicans Introduce Bill to Secure Vulnerable Election Technology and Protect American Voter Information

Committee on House Administration Republicans, led by Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), issued the following statement after introducing the Protect American Voters Act (PAVA), which will be the first major update to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) in almost two decades. PAVA helps provide states with best practices and guidance to secure their election infrastructure and technology, parts of which were breached as a result of foreign interference in the 2016 election. Currently there is no clear security guidance on these parts of election infrastructure, which has created avoidable vulnerabilities. 

Protect American Voters Act helps states protect their non-voting election equipment, like e-poll books and online voter registration databases that contain critical voter information, by directing the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to update HAVA’s testing and certification guidelines for election equipment that did not exist in 2002, allowing the election-related work of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to be more accessible and visible, and establishing an Election Cyber Assistance Unit to help prevent and/or address cyber-attacks.

“When Russia attacked our election equipment in the 2016 presidential election, they didn’t hack our vote-tallying machines. Instead, they were able to infiltrate the non-voting systems in our election infrastructure. States didn’t have much guidance on how best to protect those elements of the election ecosystem, like centralized online voter registration databases. We’re introducing the Protect American Voters Act to include non-voting technology that isn’t covered in previous election legislation from Congress,” said Ranking Member Davis. “Registered American voters should not have to worry that their personal information will be hacked by a foreign agent. PAVA is a common-sense proposal to stop what we saw in 2016, and I hope my Democratic colleagues will join us in this endeavor to protect our election systems and the technology that may be developed for future elections in our nation.” 

“While Democrats are busy trying to impeach President Trump and overturn the 2016 election, Republicans are working on real solutions to threats against our nation’s voting systems by empowering states with resources and expertise needed to protect the integrity of elections and the voices of American voters,” said Representative Mark Walker (R-NC), Member of House Administration Committee.

“It’s vitally important for us as a country to constantly revisit, test, and upgrade our technological capabilities, especially when it comes to our election systems,” said Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Member of the House Administration Committee.  “Russia’s attempts to interfere in previous elections is a prime example of why we need to ensure our voting infrastructure is secure and free from foreign influence. PAVA will provide secure guidance and best practices to state and local officials, so our voting infrastructure, like online voter registration systems, are protected.”

You can read the bill text by clicking here
Read a summary of the bill by clicking here

Background: 
The House Administration Committee held an election security hearing earlier this month on January 9th featuring local election administrators, election security experts, and CEO’s from the top election technology vendors in the country. During the hearing, the election vendor CEO’s agreed that Congress should broaden the scope and oversight of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Protecting American Voters Act grants the EAC more oversight capability through HAVA updates. 

The Committee was instrumental in the passage of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter called the most meaningful improvement in election laws and voting safeguards in a generation. HAVA provided more than $3 billion dollars for the upgrades of voting equipment and procedures to make the voting process more accessible and to guard against fraud.

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