Cyber Security And Our Elections

The Securing America's Voting Equipment Act of 2017, or the SAVE Act, would authorize the director of national intelligence to provide a security clearance to each state's chief election officer as well as one designee. 

The bill would authorize the national intelligence director to share with states classified information related to threats to voting systems and the electoral process. 

Introduction of the SAVE Act comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller and several congressional committees investigate Russia's attempt to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election by targeting state election voting centers and state-level voter registration databases (see Report: Russia's US Election Interference Was Widespread). No evidence has surfaced to show votes were changed through breaches.

Preparing For Strong Protections -Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.

"Until we set up stronger protections of our election systems and take the necessary steps to prevent future foreign influence campaigns, our nation's democratic institutions will remain vulnerable," says Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., who is a sponsor of the bill along with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Both are members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

State election officials have complained that the federal government has done a poor job of sharing cyber threat information with them. The SAVE Act would codify U.S. voting systems as critical infrastructure, which should help facilitate information sharing.

Last year, then-Department of Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson designated the electoral system as critical infrastructure. After that move, however, some state election officials expressed concerns that the federal government would take charge of the voting system, a notion Johnson dismissed (see States: Rescind Electoral Critical Infrastructure Designation).

The chief election official of New Mexico, Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver, endorsed the legislation, saying it would give state election officials more tools to secure the election process. "Our election equipment must be statutorily designated as critical infrastructure in order to effectively combat election meddling by those who wish to undermine American democracy," Oliver said in a statement.

-Allyson White, CEO

Alde Security Solutions, LLC.

Allyson White