Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress welcomes the decision of U.S. intelligence officials to give classified briefings today and Sunday to election officials from all 50 states. The decision comes as 13 Russians and three Russian organizations were indicted for interfering in the 2016 election. According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), “the briefings will focus on increasing awareness of foreign adversary intent and capabilities against the states’ election infrastructure, as well as a discussion of threat mitigation efforts.” The ODNI’s briefing, co-hosted with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Department and the FBI, is billed as a “dialogue” with the National Association of Secretaries of State, the National Association of State Election Directors, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Liz Kennedy, senior director of Democracy and Government Reform at CAP, issued the following statement:
Since the 2016 presidential election, CAP has been urging the Trump administration and Congress to urgently act to assist states in securing their election infrastructure from interference from hostile foreign nation-states such as Russia. Today we learned in greater detail the criminal acts that Russian agents took to influence the election’s outcome. There is every reason to believe that the Kremlin will continue to work to exert control over America’s political decisions. It is even more important, in light of everything we continue to learn through the independent investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Mueller, that Congress take every step to protect our elections from foreign interference.
As CAP’s new 50-state study shows, with less than nine months before midterm elections, most state election systems remain vulnerable to potential interference by foreign governments bent on disrupting the election process. It is heartening to see the intelligence community taking more active steps to work hand-in-hand with states, an imperative step in this current threat environment if we are to protect America’s elections. Currently, most states still lack the necessary funding and resources to adequately protect future elections from interference by hostile nations such as Russia. It is crucial for Congress to pass a bipartisan measure to bolster election security and provide needed funding. CAP’s report-card for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., shows that Congress can’t wait to act.
Read the report: “Election Security in the States: Defending America’s Elections” by Danielle Root, Liz Kennedy, Michael Sozan, and Jerry Parshall
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