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Congresswoman Wexton Votes to Secure American Elections

Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) voted in favor of H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act of 2019. The SAFE Act, which passed the House this afternoon, is an election security bill that would help update our nation’s voting systems and bring American election security into the 21st century. It builds on the important election reforms that were included in H.R. 1, the For the People Act.

“In 2016, Russian hackers tried to break into Virginia's election systems,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “The threat of election interference is real and it is urgent--it does not discriminate between red or blue states. It's not just about the Russians or any one election. Passing the SAFE Act is about securing our elections from all threats--foreign or otherwise. We need to protect our democracy while we still have one.”

During the 2016 election cycle, Virginia was among 21 states that were targeted by Russian-sponsored hackers. While they were not able to break into Virginia’s election systems, state election officials expedited Virginia’s transition to a paper-based ballot system in response to the threat of election interference.

Earlier this week, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on voting technology vulnerabilities. Congresswoman Wexton highlighted the need to be able to effectively audit for errors in vote counts in light of the widespread attempts to manipulate election systems.

The SAFE Act is supported by numerous organizations, including Common Cause, End Citizens United Action Fund, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, NAACP, and Public Citizen.

WATCH: Congresswoman Wexton debates in support of the SAFE Act on the House floor.

The SAFE Act:

  • Authorizes $600 million in Voting System Security Improvement Grants for states to modernize and secure their election infrastructure. 
  • Authorizes $175 million every two years to states to maintain the state’s election infrastructure.
  • Mandates that voting systems use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation.
  • Requires states to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits to ensure election integrity;  whether it is a programming error or a cyber-attack, these audits help detect inaccuracies.
  • Sets strict cybersecurity standards for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.
  • Fosters accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation. 
  • Bans Internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted. 
  • Requires voting machines to be manufactured in the United States.