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 KlobucharMost in new poll say Biden running mate won't influence their vote The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Fauci says focus should be on pausing reopenings rather than reverting to shutdowns; WHO director pleads for international unity in pandemic response State election officials warn budget cuts could lead to November chaos 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 WarnerUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign GOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls MORE (D-Va.), Senate Homeland Security Committee ranking member Gary PetersGary Charles PetersConservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race Health care group launches M ad campaign hitting Trump in battleground states The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark MORE (D-Mich.) and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Chris Christie says Trump team wasn't aggressive enough early in COVID-19 crisis; Tensions between White House, Fauci boil over Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Sunday shows - FDA commissioner declines to confirm Trump claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are 'harmless' 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 BarrBill BarrOusted Manhattan prosecutor Geoffrey Berman to teach at Stanford MS-13 member charged with terrorism-related offenses for first time ACLU calls for special prosecutor to investigate removal of protesters in front of White House MORE also said in a letter to Congress on Sunday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE determined there were two separate efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 contest.