The Helping State and Local Governments Prevent Cyber Attacks Act would help combat foreign interference by providing state and local governments with information and resources they need to keep our elections secure and improve voter confidence
The legislation would also simplify registration and voting processes to save taxpayer dollars and increase efficiency
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, cosponsored legislation to improve the security of U.S. election systems and make commonsense improvements to election administration.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated election infrastructure as a critical infrastructure, but the designation only provides expedited access to DHS information, it does not provide local jurisdictions with the resources they need to modernize and upgrade infrastructure to keep elections secure. The Helping State and Local Governments Prevent Cyber Attacks Act would help combat foreign interference by providing state and local governments with information and resources they need to keep our elections secure and improve voter confidence. The bill is sponsored by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and cosponsored by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
“The legitimacy of our elected officials and the preservation of our democracy depend on our trust of the election system,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The foreign interference in last year’s election is an alarming reminder of the needed urgency to safeguard our elections from any sort of external influence. It is Congress’s duty to provide state and local government with essential resources to protect our democracy. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation because we cannot take the integrity of our elections for granted.”
The Helping State and Local Governments Prevent Cyber Attacks Act amends the Help America Vote Act by requiring the Election Assistance Commission to hold public hearings and establish best practice recommendations for both election cybersecurity and election audits. Once those best practices are finalized, the bill creates a grant program that would provide states with $325 million in grant funds to implement these best practices. Additionally, the bill will create efficiencies that save taxpayer dollars including:
- Creating an online federal voter registration form to provide all eligible Americans with access to online voter registration;
- Requiring the United States Post Office to connect its change of address services with the online federal form to streamline voter registration for Americans that move;
- Strengthening the accuracy of voting lists by notifying previous jurisdictions when Americans move and register in a new location;
- Protecting the right to vote by allowing voters who had previously registered in a state to update their address through Election Day; and
- Providing an opportunity for all eligible Americans to vote at a convenient time.