By Aaron Martin
The Congressional Task Force on Election Security released a report on Wednesday that outlines 10 recommendations to protect state election systems for cyberattacks, including allocating funds, more training, minimum requirements for voting machines, and threat assessments.
The task force was established in June 2017 in response to Russian hackers targeting 21 states’ voting systems and voter databases during the 2016 election. Members of the task force also introduced legislation that incorporates the recommendations of the report.
Wednesday’s report recommends that Congress appropriate $400 million in remain funds under the Help America Vote Act to help states update and secure voting machines, provide ongoing funding to secure state IT systems and voter databases, adequately fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Election Assistance Commission, and require manufacturers of voting machines to adhere to minimum cybersecurity standards and require notification in the event of breaches.
U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chairman of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, said he was pleased with the task force’s work and recommendations.
“With the 2018 elections just months away, Congress must act now to bolster our election cyber security especially as intelligence leaders are confident that Russian interference will not stop,” Langevin said. “The report recommendations and corresponding legislation are important first steps in restoring the American people’s trust in our democratic system and securing our elections for years to come.”
The task force also called for the development of a National Strategy to Counter Efforts to Undermine Democratic Institutions, for the intelligence community to conduct election security assessments six months before elections, for DHS to maintain the “critical infrastructure” designation for election infrastructure and to expedite security clearance for the top election official in each state.
The report also called for states to conduct risk-limiting assessments, to prioritize training for state election officials and IT staff.