Congresswoman Johnson Votes to Pass Legislation Strengthening Election Security in the 2020 Election
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson voted in favor of H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, to guard against foreign interference in our democracy by providing funding to states to update and secure their state’s voting systems. The bill mandates paper ballot voting systems, post-election risk-limiting audits, and strict cybersecurity requirements for both election technology vendors and voting systems. It builds on the boldest set of democracy reforms in a generation passed by the House in H.R. 1, the For The People Act.
“As families throughout Texas prepare to celebrate America’s independence, our country faces a grave and urgent threat from foreign adversaries,” said Congresswoman Johnson. “Our top intelligence and security officials have advised us about the unprecedented attack on our democracy by the Russians in the 2016 election, and have warned us that they expect the same type of foreign interference from Russia in the coming election. Our democracy must be protected at all costs, which is why I was proud to join my colleagues today to pass the SAFE Act and uphold our constitutional duty to defend our nation against foreign threats."
The SAFE Act:
- Authorizes $600 million in Voting System Security Improvement Grants for states to modernize and secure their election infrastructure, which was appropriated by the FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill that the House passed on Wednesday.
- Authorizes $175 million every two years to states to maintain the state’s election infrastructure.
- Mandates that voting systems use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation.
- Requires states to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits to ensure election integrity; whether it is a programming error or a cyber-attack, these audits help detect inaccuracies.
- Sets strict cybersecurity standards for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.
- Fosters accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation.
- Bans Internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted.
- Requires voting machines to be manufactured in the United States.