Senator wants $160M to buy auditable voting machines

Senator wants $160M to buy auditable voting machines
© Getty Images

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingSenate confirms No. 2 spot at HHS, days after Price resigns Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy Mattis: Staying in Iran deal is of US national security interest MORE (I-Maine) sent a letter to Senate Appropriations leadership Tuesday calling for $160 million to supply states with voting machines that provide a paper record. 

"Rational analysis concludes that our voting equipment will certainly be subject to sophisticated cyberattacks that are likely to change election outcomes without detection," King wrote in his letter to Sens. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal GOP senator undergoing follow-up surgery next week An unlikely home in DC MORE (R-Ark.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot Senators grill ex-Equifax CEO over stock sales MORE (D-Mont.). 

Many of the digital voting machines that were purchased to help disabled and hard-of-sight voters do not provide a paper record of votes. That makes it harder to audit vote tallies if hacking or other tampering is suspected. Paper records cannot be altered by malware. 

There is no evidence that voting machines were hacked in the 2016 presidential election. And since election machines are purchased locally and are vastly different from locality to locality, hacking a national election without being detected would be a daunting task. Hacking state and local elections, however, would be more realistic.

"A simple and effective solution to the cybersecurity vulnerability of our voting systems is available immediately: audit the results of elections instead of trying to secure computer systems," King wrote in his letter.