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Lankford/Klobuchar React to Spending Bill - KOAM TV 7

Lankford/Klobuchar React to Spending Bill

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Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) say the funding for election security in the FY2018 spending bill was first proposed in their Secure Elections Act.

According to Lankford's Office, the bill includes $380 million for states to make election security improvements, implement cybersecurity guidelines, and replace outdated electronic voting machines. This funding was first proposed in Lankford and Klobuchar's Secure Elections Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in December to protect against foreign interference in future elections.

"I applaud Senate leadership for including election security funding in this Omnibus appropriations bill," said Lankford. "Although I object to this year's broken budget process, the funding in this Omnibus appropriations bill will help states modernize their voting systems and ensure that auditable ballots can provide safeguards against manipulation and malicious cyberattacks. A fair and safe election is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. While funding in the Omnibus is an essential first step, it's just that – a first step. Congress must take up the full Secure Elections Act without delay so we can fully protect the security and integrity of our elections."

"Election security is national security and our intelligence officials have made clear that our election systems continue to be a target for foreign adversaries," said Klobuchar. "We must do everything in our power to protect our democracy from future attacks. That means making sure those on the front lines of administering elections have the resources and information they need to safeguard our election systems. This immediate funding will help states to replace outdated technology and improve cyber-defenses ahead of the 2018 and 2020 elections."

"Safeguarding the integrity of our elections process will require the ongoing commitment and vigilance of the federal, state and local governments and our public and private partner institutions," said Vermont Secretary of State and National Association of Secretaries of State President-elect Jim Condos. "We must collaboratively work to guarantee secure elections, thus restoring voter confidence in our systems and in our democracy. I want to thank Congress on behalf of all Secretaries of State and all Americans for enabling us to acquire additional tools to ensure election integrity. Nothing could be more important."

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee unveiled Committee recommendations to secure America's election infrastructure. In it, the Committee recommended that Congress urgently pass legislation to increase assistance and establish a voluntary grant program for the states to improve cybersecurity by hiring additional Information Technology staff, updating software, and contracting vendors to provide cybersecurity services, among other steps. The Committee also recommended funding to help defray the costs of instituting audits. The recommendations from the Senate Intelligence Committee mirror those in the Secure Elections Act.

The other original co-sponsors of the Secure Elections Act are Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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