Warren says US elections are 'less secure than your Amazon account'

Warren says US elections are 'less secure than your Amazon account'
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Helping students make informed decisions on college Student debt cancellation advocates encouraged by Biden, others remain skeptical MORE (D-Mass.), a presidential candidate, released a plan Tuesday to secure elections against cyber threats and foreign interference, as well as to end voting suppression.

Warren's plan, which was published in an article in Medium, would have the federal government replace every voting machine in the nation with “state-of-the-art equipment,” specifically machines that will allow for hand-marked, voter-verified paper ballots.


Uniform ballots across all election jurisdictions would also be required as well in order to prevent “hanging chad” issues -- referring to the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida when a confusing ballot became the subject of intense scrutiny. 

“Our elections should be as secure as Fort Knox,” Warren wrote. “But instead, they’re less secure than your Amazon account.” 

The plan comes just months after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE spelled out how Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Warren’s plan also includes replacing the current Election Assistance Commission with the “Secure Democracy Administration,” an agency that would be tasked with managing election cybersecurity and developing security procedures for election administrators.

The proposals would likely entail a large investment from the federal government in state elections, with Warren writing that “the federal government will pay the entirety of a state’s election administration costs, as long as the state meets federal standards in its state and local elections and works to make voting more convenient.”

Beyond securing the election, Warren’s plan also calls for creating “binding federal standards for federal elections” that would mandate automatic voter registration and same-day registration, along with banning vote roll purges and making Election Day a national holiday.

Further, Warren advocates for an end to gerrymandering, with states required to use “independent redistricting commissions” that would be tasked with drawing congressional districts in a fair way.

“Enough is enough,” Warren wrote. “It is time to make high-quality voting in the greatest democracy in the world easy, convenient, and professional. It’s time to secure our elections from all threats, foreign and domestic. It’s time to address election security, administration problems, and voter suppression.”

Warren published her election security plan in the midst of an increasingly heated debate in both the House and Senate over this issue.

Democrats in both chambers are backing a multitude of election security bills, while Republicans are pushing back, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization MORE (R-Ky.) so far refusing to allow a vote on any of these pieces of legislation on the Senate floor.

Many of Warren’s proposals would likely be dead on arrival in a Republican-controlled Senate, where many Republicans are concerned that election security legislation will take away state control of elections.

Warren is the latest presidential contender to take a stance on this issue, following the release of Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Klobuchar offers tribute to her father, who died Wednesday The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill MORE’s (D-Minn.) “First 100 Days” plan last week.

Klobuchar wrote in another Medium article that if elected, she would “prioritize cybersecurity and protect our elections and other American infrastructure from cyber attack.”

Klobuchar's plan would introduce legislation that funded election security efforts, require backup paper ballots, and require campaigns to report contacts with foreign nationals seeking to interfere in elections to federal authorities.