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 KlobucharSanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina Telehealth is calling — will Congress pick up? 2020 Dems call on Mueller to testify about redacted report 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 WarnerDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Hillicon Valley: Trump unveils initiatives to boost 5G | What to know about the Assange case | Pelosi warns tech of 'new era' in regulation | Dem eyes online hate speech bill MORE (D-Va.), Senate Homeland Security Committee ranking member Gary PetersGary Charles PetersCongress opens door to fraught immigration talks GOP campaign group goes after Senate Dems over 'Medicare for all' Bipartisan senators offer bill to expand electric vehicle tax credit MORE (D-Mich.) and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis Reed Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Senators show deep skepticism on Space Force proposal Barr says 'spying' took place on Trump campaign 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 BarrImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll Trump: Mueller report was 'written as nastily as possible' by 'true Trump Haters' MORE also said in a letter to Congress on Sunday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE determined there were two separate efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 contest.