Intelligence officials, lawmakers talk efforts to beef up election security

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — United States intelligence officials say American elections remain under attack from foreign interference. On Tuesday, congressional lawmakers discussed efforts to increase election security.

Adversaries aren’t slowing down and are adding new tactics to interfere in our elections. Officials said, as we speak, foreign actors are preparing to interfere in the 2020 elections.

“Foreign actors have redoubled their efforts,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-New York).

Nadler wanted to know if federal agencies including the FBI, Justice Department and Election Assistance Commission are ready to fight back.

Matthew Masterson with the Department of Homeland Security said the answer is “yes.” He said his agency has boosted its efforts to work with state and local officials to respond to threats.

“If there is an issue will ballots on election day, they are prepared to administer provisional ballots broadly and ensure that every voter, while it may be messy, has the ability to cast their vote,” Masterson said.

Lawmakers are also urging Congress to step up its efforts to protect the integrity of elections. That includes increasing transparency around social media.

Congressman Ben Cline said the spread of discord online remains a major concern. FBI officials confirm Russian hackers are not backing down.

“What efforts to interfere with electoral processes are you aware of at this time?” Cline asked.

“The whole concept of pushing out false information of highlighting places to vote that actually aren’t true,” said Nikki Floris with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Representative Steve Chabot is pushing a bill to hold foreign adversaries accountable.

“It would deny entry into the U.S. any individual who interferes with our election,” Chabot said.

Officials said they are committed to working together to protect voters.

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