July 25, 2018

Kilmer Amends House Spending Bill to Demand Answers on Election Security

Kilmer amendment directs GAO to determine whether, how Department of Homeland Security is securing voting machines from outside threats

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the House Committee on Appropriations adopted an amendment to a spending bill from Representative Derek Kilmer, the committee’s Vice Ranking Member, which demands answers from the Department of Homeland Security on how it plans to protect the nation’s election machines. The amendment directs the Government Accountability Office to urgently study what the Department is doing currently, and whether it plans to increase protection.

The amendment comes just a week after President Trump, standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, publicly doubted the US intelligence community’s unanimous opinion that Russia is actively seeking to undermine US election systems.

“The intelligence is clear: foreign nations are targeting America’s voting systems. The American people deserve to know the steps the government is taking to protect the machines that record their votes,” Kilmer said. “I’m pleased the committee gave its bipartisan support to this study. I’ll keep pushing to protect America’s elections.”

Kilmer amended the FY 2019 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill during a committee markup this afternoon. The Amendment was approved as part of the “manager’s amendment” which traditionally indicates bipartisan support.

Here is the text of the amendment:

Election Security. Given that elections infrastructure – election and voting systems, products, and service vendors and related supply-chain participants – have been designated as part of the Nation’s critical infrastructure, DHS has a significant role in assisting State and local election officials as they prepare for Federal elections. The Committee appreciates that DHS is working to provide that assistance and that there is an ongoing OIG investigation to examine the status of that work. To aid the Committee in its oversight function, the GAO shall examine how DHS is implementing its key responsibilities in overseeing protection of the elections critical infrastructure subsector and the reported benefits and challenges of such efforts.