Lawmakers urge more security for 2020 election

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With special counsel Robert Mueller’s report unveiling stunning details of Russian attempts to hack the 2016 presidential election, federal lawmakers are demanding better security and protections for the 2020 vote.

In a 2018 report (PDF), the Center for American Progress rated most states’ electronic security as a C. Some were graded even worse.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are introducing bills to help local governments amp up security. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., wants every state to have backup paper ballots. Currently, more than a dozen states don’t.

“This is our nation’s future. This is the election,” she said. “Having a backup is the least we could do.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, agreed, but is skeptical that the White House will welcome that or any other reforms.

“The president hasn’t done what any other president would have done and that’s protect our election system,” he said.

Since last year, the Trump administration has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local election boards to defend against cyberattacks, but some members of Congress want more jail time for offenders and to increase grant money for states.

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said she agrees security must be a top priority, but urged caution.

“We want to make sure that we’re not mandating something that would lessen any security that we might have,” she said.

The White House so far hasn’t offered a specific plan and no hearings are scheduled.

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