No Action to Date on Secure Elections Act Legislation Discussed on 60 Minutes

CBS’ 60 Minutes yesterday aired a segment on When Russian hackers targeted the U.S. election infrastructure, that focused on the actual penetration into the Illinois Board of Elections by Russian hackers.  The segment included members of Congress expressing frustration with the Department of Homeland Security’s response to the hacking and preparations for 2018.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) are they only Senators who serve on both the Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees, both of which have been investigating the 2016 election hacking.   The two appeared in the segment to discuss their legislation, the “Secure Elections Act,” which was introduced in December and co-sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The bill would

  • Ensure that the federal government promptly shares election cybersecurity threats and information with state, county, and municipal election agencies;
  • Provide security clearances to appropriate state officials so they can access and act quickly on classified cybersecurity information;
  • Develops through a panel of independent experts and an open process, a set of voluntary cybersecurity guidelines for election-related systems; and
  • Provide grants to states for implementation of the cybersecurity guidelines and replacing outdated electronic voting machines.

Yet even a bill that only sets “voluntary standards” for cybersecurity, has had no action.  In the segment, the two Senators get the final word.

Senator Harris explains: “We’re not doing enough.  We’re not doing nothing, but we are certainly not doing enough.”