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US House passes election security bill after Russian hacking

Hackers (Wikimedia Commons/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation designed to enhance election security following outrage over Russian cyberinterference in the 2016 presidential election.

The Democratic-sponsored bill would mandate paper ballot voting and postelection audit as well as replace outdated and vulnerable voting equipment. The June 27 vote passed 225-184 mostly along partisan lines.

Following a two-year investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller in April concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 election in a “sweeping and systematic fashion,” including hacking.

Congressional Democrats have been pushing for the voting security legislation as their party prepares to challenge President Donald Trump next year.

“2020 is coming. Let’s be prepared,” Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a tweet after the vote.

Under the legislation, U.S. states would receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding by November 2020 to secure voting machines from cyberattacks.

Russia successfully hacked into two voting systems in Florida during the 2016 election, though there is no evidence that it altered the results.

Attendees at last year’s DEF CON, the annual “hacker” conference, demonstrated before state election officials how easily U.S. voting equipment can be breached.

“The number and severity of vulnerabilities discovered on voting equipment still used throughout the United States today was staggering,” the conference organizers said in a follow-up report published in September that recommended using paper ballots.

The House bill faces strong opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.