Top Dems press voting vendors over election security concerns

Democratic senators sent a letter to three of the country’s top election system vendors on Tuesday, pressing them on what they will do to help secure the 2020 election from foreign attacks.

The letter, sent to the heads of voting vendors Election Systems & Software LLC, Hart InterCivic Inc. and Dominion Voting Systems, requested that the companies inform Democratic leaders of efforts to improve their systems to guard against cyber vulnerabilities.

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Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharRules for first Democratic primary debates announced Senate set to bypass Iran fight amid growing tensions Sanders unveils student debt plan amid rivalry with Warren MORE (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, was joined on the letter by Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns Ex-Obama counterterrorism official: Huawei could pose security threat to international intelligence community Bipartisan senators to introduce bill forcing online platforms to disclose value of user data MORE (D-Va.), Senate Homeland Security Committee ranking member Gary PetersGary Charles PetersSenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats Democrats make U-turn on calling border a 'manufactured crisis' Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account MORE (D-Mich.) and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTrump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Shanahan drama shocks Capitol Hill, leaving Pentagon rudderless MORE (D-R.I.).

“Despite the progress that has been made, election security experts and federal and state government officials continue to warn that more must be done to fortify our election systems,” the senators wrote. “Of particular concern is the fact that many of the machines that Americans use to vote have not been meaningfully updated in nearly two decades.”

“Although each of your companies has a combination of older, legacy machines and newer systems, vulnerabilities in each present a problem for the security of our democracy and they must be addressed.”

The lawmakers asked the vendors to also weigh in on new guidance released earlier this year by the Elections Assistance Commission, an independent government agency that offers voluntary voting system guidelines.

While those guidelines are now up for public comment, the senators noted that experts believe they “will not be completed in time to have an impact on the 2020 elections.”

“As the three largest election equipment vendors, your companies provide voting machines and software used by 92 percent of the eligible voting population in the U.S. This market concentration is one factor among many that could be contributing to the lack of innovation in election equipment,” the letter reads.

“The integrity of our elections is directly tied to the machines we vote on – the products that you make. Despite shouldering such a massive responsibility, there has been a lack of meaningful innovation in the election vendor industry and our democracy is paying the price.”

Election security has been a top concern for lawmakers and administration officials after the U.S. intelligence community determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDemocrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question The Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations EXCLUSIVE: Trump declines to say he has confidence in FBI director MORE also said in a letter to Congress on Sunday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report MORE determined there were two separate efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 contest.