Two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday aimed at safeguarding state election systems from foreign interference as their panel continues to probe Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
The multifaceted cybersecurity bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine would protect voting systems, registration data and ballots from being stolen or manipulated by malicious computer hackers by facilitating information sharing between federal and state election monitors while allocating government funds destined specifically for safeguarding election systems, among other measures, its sponsors said Tuesday.
Known as the Securing America’s Voting Equipment Act, or SAVE Act, the bill is the latest to emerge on Capitol Hill in response to U.S. intelligence officials concluding that Russian hackers targeted election systems in 21 states during last year’s White House race in addition to penetrating computer servers associated with the Democratic National Committee and the party’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
“Our democracy hinges on protecting Americans’ ability to fairly choose our own leaders. We must do everything we can to protect the security and integrity of our elections,” Mr. Heinrich said in a statement. “Until we set up stronger protections of our election systems and take the necessary steps to prevent future foreign influence campaigns, our nation’s democratic institutions will remain vulnerable.”