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Our Democracy Depends on Secure Elections

Our democracy hinges on protecting Americans’ skill to rather choose our own leaders, and this requires public assurance that the voting results announced on election night are legitimate and reflect the actual votes cast in every nation.

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Martin Heinrich (@martinheinrich) (D-New Mexico) and Susan Collins (@senatorcollins) (R-Maine) function on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

As members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we’re helping to direct the Senate’s research to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Each member of our committee remains committed to ensuring that we produce protections against similar activities from actors and discovering the scope of Russia & rsquo; s operations.

The January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment reasoned that Russian actors tried to permeate voter registration databases as part of Russia’s larger efforts election. Although there’s no evidence that vote tallies changed on Election Day, a vulnerability which could be manipulated by hackers in the long run to undermine the integrity of the procedure is demonstrated by the attempted intrusions.

The US should improve and modernize protections for registration information, our voting systems, and ballots to stop theft, manipulation, and computer hacking. That’s why the two of us partnered to introduce the bipartisan Securing America’s Voting Equipment (SAVE) Act to give greater security for election systems across the nation. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Administration and Rules, and will obtain a hearing.

The SAVE Act would designate state-run election systems as crucial infrastructure and require that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a federal grant program to help states upgrade their voting systems by implementing best practices in election security, like the use of paper ballots and post-election auditing to compare the results of the paper ballots and vote-counting machines. Election programs are made a priority in DHS by the infrastructure designation. It permits the department prioritize and to provide  cybersecurity resources to local and state election officials who ask it, and it streamlines information-sharing and cooperation.

This law would also require the director of national intelligence (DNI) to host security clearances for the primary election official in each country, usually the secretaries of state. The DNI would share all classified information that is suitable to help them protect their election systems. Finally, the legislation will create a pest control program who detect vulnerabilities in voting approaches that are non-active, so that software and equipment vendors can work to fix them.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is in a vital juncture in our evaluation. After the Committee’s hearing earlier this month regarding Russian efforts to influence the American people on social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the public is starting to find the numerous ways in which the Kremlin sought to influence the 2016 presidential election   and aggravate the polarization in our nation.   We all need to remember that the Russian authorities didn’t interfere with our election oppose a Democratic candidate or to elect a Republican president. They did so in order to sow discord and also to exacerbate existing divisions in an effort to weaken our nation and aboard.

Until the US takes the measures that are necessary to stop future overseas effect campaigns and builds protections of the election systems, our state’s institutions.

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