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 KlobucharThis week: Democrats face mounting headaches Klobuchar: 'It is evil to make it deliberately hard for people to vote' Democrats push to shield election workers from violent threats   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 WarnerDemocrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' Advocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democrats draw red lines in spending fight MORE (D-Va.), Senate Homeland Security Committee ranking member Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Democrats press FTC to resolve data privacy 'crisis' Democratic senator requests tech company policies on extremist content FreedomWorks misfires on postal reform MORE (D-Mich.) and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJack ReedTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake 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 BarrBarr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' MORE also said in a letter to Congress on Sunday that 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 determined there were two separate efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 contest.