Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act, a measure aimed at increasing election security.
The legislation authorizes some funding to states to secure their election systems. It also requires those states to regularly audit those systems and make sure they utilize paper ballots.
“If you have that paper ballot in place, you can at least check that to make sure that the vote was tallied correctly and it's a good backup to some of the hacking that we're seeing," Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) said.
Brindisi voted in favor of the legislation, but Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and all but one Republican in the House voted against it. A spokesperson for his office said that he favors another piece of legislation that would do more to address cybersecurity for states’ elections systems. Some of the provisions in that bill would setup a cybersecurity unit to work under the election assistance commission to provide states with assistance proactively or in case of an attempted intrusion. It would also require states and federal authorities to communicate with each other within four days if a breach of security occurs.
The bill that passed last week now goes to the Senate where it’s fate is much less certain. Democrats have tried to force votes on their version of the bill twice, but have been blocked both times.