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Pingree Joins House Democrats in Protecting American Elections from Hacking, Foreign Interference

Washington, June 27, 2019

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today joined her House colleagues in passing the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, H.R. 2722. The SAFE Act provides funding to protect the United States’ election systems, requires the use of paper ballots, mandates post-election audits of vulnerabilities, and helps defend against foreign hacking and attacks.

“The Mueller report and American intelligence agencies have unequivocally confirmed that Russia meddled in our 2016 presidential election. Unless we act now, our adversaries will do it again,” said Pingree. “Congress has a responsibility to step up in the face of this unprecedented attack and protect our democratic process. I’m proud the House has taken action today to prevent future interference with passage of the SAFE Act.”

The SAFE Act will:

  • Authorize $600 million in Voting System Security Improvement Grants for states to modernize and secure their election infrastructure. (The initial $600 million is being appropriated by the FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which the House passed yesterday.)
  • Authorize $175 million every two years to states to maintain the state’s election infrastructure.
  • Mandate that voting systems use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation.
  • Require states to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits to ensure election integrity;  whether it is a programming error or a cyber-attack, these audits help detect inaccuracies.
  • Set strict cybersecurity standards for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.
  • Foster accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation.
  • Ban Internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted.
  • Require voting machines to be manufactured in the United States.   

The SAFE Act builds on H.R. 1, the For the People Act passed by the new House majority in January 2019. H.R. 1 cleans up American elections, boldly reforms campaign finance, and helps expand access to the ballot box. Congresswoman Pingree is a cosponsor of H.R. 1. 

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