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Cardin, Van Hollen Introduce Bill to Mandate Transparency for Election Security Systems

October 11th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar, Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee (D-Minn.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have introduced legislation to bring greater transparency to America’s election systems in an effort to protect our country from foreign interference, as occurred in the 2016 presidential election. The Election Systems Integrity Act,” (S. 3572) would require disclosure of foreign ownership of election service providers. This summer, it was revealed that a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin has become the largest investor in a fund tied to the company that hosts Maryland’s statewide voter registration, candidacy, and election management system; the online voter registration system; online ballot delivery system; and the unofficial election night results website. Disclosure to state officials of this change in ownership was made by the FBI and not the company itself.


“There is bipartisan agreement that our elections are under threat from foreign cyberattacks and disinformation efforts. It makes securing the integrity of our elections one of our highest national security priorities,” said Senator Cardin. “While there are many safeguards in place, the American people have a right to know when foreign players have made their way in to the very inner workings of our election system. Transparency and communication between all levels of government will help keep our future elections free and fair.” 


“Foreign adversaries continue to target our election systems every day—we must ensure that those who want to undermine our democracy are not in control of the very infrastructure we are trying to protect,” said Senator Klobuchar. “The Election Systems Integrity Act will help safeguard our election systems by requiring vendors to disclose their ownership so that state and federal officials know who is behind the companies that provide our states with election equipment.”


“Our free and fair elections are central to what makes America’s democracy an example to the world. Foreign ownership of the very nuts and bolts of our election systems – like we saw here in Maryland – opens a door to potential attacks that we cannot allow. Step one to preventing this abuse is transparency,” said Senator Van Hollen. “The Election Systems Integrity Act will shine a light on any foreign actors who own American election infrastructure and allow states to take action to keep our democracy safe.”

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