Senator: Status quo on voting machine security is a 'danger to our democracy'

CNET | 8/9/2019 | Alfred Ng
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Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, spoke on election security issues at Defcon in Las Vegas.

In the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election, lawmakers have seen little change in security for voters. But if voting machine security standards don't change by the 2020 presidential election, Sen. Ron Wyden warns, the consequences could be far worse than the cyberattacks of 2016.

Democrat - Oregon - Member - Senate - Intelligence

The Democrat from Oregon, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence committee, told the Defcon hacking conference that US voting infrastructure is failing to keep elections secure from potential cyberattacks. He made the comments in a Friday speech at the Voting Village, a special section of the Las Vegas conference dedicated to election security.

"If nothing happens, the kind of interference we will see form hostile foreign actors will make 2016 look like child's play," Wyden said. "We're just not prepared, not even close, to stop it."

Election - Security - Concern - Lawmakers - Election

Election security has been a major concern for lawmakers since the 2016 election, which saw unprecedented interference by the Russians. Though no votes are believed to have been changed, the Russians targeted election systems in all 50 states, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Legislation to protect elections has been trudged along in Congress. Multiple members of Congress were at Defcon to discuss the issue, as well as to learn about cybersecurity policy.

Wyden - Election - Security - Bill - Paper

In 2018, Wyden proposed an election security bill requiring paper ballots. The House passed its own, similar election security bill, with input from Wyden, but it was blocked in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, called it partisan legislation.

On Friday, Wyden blasted McConnell, calling him the reason why Congress hasn't been able to fix election security issues. "It sure seems like Russia's No. 1 ally in compromising American election security is Mitch...
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