Debbie Dingell

From the office of:

Debbie Dingell

Sending Office: Honorable Debbie Dingell
Sent By:

Current Cosponsrs: Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Jamie Raskin, 

Dear Colleague,

After the 2000 Presidential Election, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to update our ageing and confusing voting systems with easy-to-use touch screen voting machines.  While the intention was good, many of those voting machines haven’t been
updated since, and are vulnerable to attack.  We all know now that foreign adversaries pay very close attention to our elections.  At the most recent DEFCON,

hackers and security researchers were able to compromise dozens of voting machines with relative ease
– and during an election, these same vulnerabilities would allow an actor to change vote tallies or manipulate voter registration databases, often with
little to no trace. 

No votes were changed in the 2016 elections, but if we don’t take steps to secure our ballot box we run the risk of that in the future.  It only takes a few changed ballots to sow confusion and distrust of our own electoral process, and if that’s undermined
our mandate for serving in Congress can be called in to question, too.  My bill, the Safeguarding Election Infrastructure Act of 2017 does three main things to prevent this in the future. 

  1. Allows for state and local election officials to get the needed security clearances, so federal agencies can share relevant intelligence and information needed to protect voting systems. 
  2. Mandates every vote cast have a paper receipt and establishes a competitive grant program to help states update their voting machines.  As it stands in some states, voters press a button and the machine tabulates the results.  If a machine is compromised,
    election officials have no way to audit the results, and you can’t hack paper. 
  3. Election results are audited using a statistically significant sample of paper ballots if the winner of the race receives less than 59 percent of the vote. 

Taking these steps now will strengthen and harden our elections, and give the American people the assurance that regardless of the result, the victor was elected by the voters. If you have any questions please contact Kevin Dollhopf in my office at 5-4071
or at

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Elections, Foreign Affairs, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Technology

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