PAVE Act introduced to increase election security

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — There’s new legislation aimed at combating foreign interference in our elections.

“The threats we face in 2020 will make the election interference of 2016 look like very small potatoes,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. said.

Wyden said America’s election systems are still vulnerable and Congress must act soon to avert a disaster.

“And it will not just be the Russians in 2020,” Wyden said.

In addition to social media misinformation campaigns, US election systems are vulnerable to potential hacking.

Wyden, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is introducing the PAVE Act, which would require hand-marked paper ballots and audits of election results.

FILE - Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined at left by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined at left by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Wyden said audits are especially important in light of the recent revelations that election networks in two Florida counties were hacked by Russians in 2016.

The PAVE Act act would require other precautions as well.

“For example, making sure there are no wireless connections to voting machines,” Wyden said.

Officials from the Justice Department, the Federal Elections Commission, intelligence agencies and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have all agreed that action is critical.

“If we don’t act on Bob Mueller’s recommendation that we protect America’s democracy in 2020, shame on us,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

So far, the PAVE Act has 15 co-sponsors in the Senate, all Democrats.

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