House Administration Committee Highlights Importance of Decentralization and Agreement on Election Vulnerabilities
On Wednesday, the Secretaries of State of Michigan and Alabama appeared before the House Administration Committee in order to advocate for increased funding and support to safeguard our elections against cyber attacks.
The hearing demonstrated that both sides of the political aisle are in agreement that cyberattacks pose a threat to the integrity of our election systems. Rodney Davis, Ranking Member of the Committee, asserted:
“The greatest threat to election security is partisanship, as we saw during HR 1 process. [This is a] great opportunity to work on election security in bipartisan manner today & hear about great work of EAC, secretaries of state, & local election officials…. [I take] the responsibility of ensuring fair and secure elections extremely seriously.”
Witness testimony highlighted the importance of having decentralized elections, instead of one national database susceptible to penetration, as Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill highlighted:
“We must work collectively to strengthen our Cyber Security to protect the integrity of the electoral system from foreign influence; however, we should not present a narrative to citizens that only one system can ensure an equal right to vote…If we didn’t have a decentralized system and instead had a national election system, it would be a lot easier to compromise the entire system nationwide.”
Merrill went on to state that the federal government must do more to provide a stronger support system for local elections. While Congress allocated $380 million in 2018 to improve election technology in the US, that may only represent a fraction of the required costs. Witness Marian Schneider, with Verified Voting, estimated that updating election infrastructure in Pennsylvania would cost upwards of $100 million.