A bipartisan effort led by freshman Rep. Michael Waltz (R) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) introduced legislation this week to inform officials and the public of elections hacking.
The legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to notify both state and local officials along with specific Congressional members and any affected voters when federal agencies have identified that there has been an election system breach.
The Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security Act is a response to reports revealing attempted Russian infiltration into computer networks of two Florida counties prior to the 2016 U.S. election.
Earlier in the year, Senator Rick Scott (R) directed a letter to the FBI, asking FBI Director Christopher Wray to immediately provide information that would corroborate the claims made in the Mueller report concerning Russian interference in the election.
Commenting on the legislation, Rep. Waltz detailed that it’s “been nearly two months since Florida delegation members were briefed by the FBI on the two hacked counties in Florida – and the voters in these counties still don’t know if Russians have accessed their personal data.”
He added that “our elections system is perhaps the most critical of all infrastructure to our democracy – and it is constantly under attack from foreign powers who do not share our values.”
Rep. Murphy expressed that “it is unacceptable that the Russians know which systems were hacked but not the American voters who are the true victims of this intrusion.”
So, “just like consumers expect credit card or social media companies to disclose when their personal data has been compromised, voters also expect their government to notify them when their voting information is improperly accessed.”
In turn, Murphy notes that “strengthening the security of our elections, especially from attacks by foreign adversaries, needs to be a top priority.”