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house Bill H.R. 6435

Should States Only be Able to Use Election Systems Vendors That Are Owned by Americans?

Argument in favor

By prohibiting state from entering into agreements with vendors who may be from, or based-in a foreign country we can help ensure that American elections aren't undermined by foreign governments.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
08/25/2018
Paper ballots are superior for security than the machines that can be hacked by preteens in 15 minuets. But if you insist on weak unsecured electronics, American made is theoretically better. As long as it’s Americans cheating, it’s fine, right? Because that’s what this bill is saying. P.S. I’m glad to see that most people realize that this is a BS bill. I was being sarcastic in my response, but, the common chorus of people calling for paper ballots on both the Yea and Nay sides prove that the electronic machines Country of origin is clearly not what concerns most of us in regards to election security. The fact is that the electronic machines have all the weaknesses of electronics. They are hackable, programmable, unverifiable, unsecured and mutable. For those states that lack a strong paper trail, your elections are fundamentally unproven. Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia have little to no paper trail. 15 states, literally a third of our states, 198 electoral votes, cannot validate their elections. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency and we have nearly 200 electoral votes that cannot really be proven. When you consider this list the concern that most of us have cannot be dismissed. Our elections need to be physically verifiable. That is what we actually care about.
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Vanessa's Opinion
···
08/25/2018
Go back to pencil and paper, both of those are produced right in the good ole US of A!
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Don's Opinion
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08/25/2018
Being a member of our county election board in a State that uses paper ballots (Oklahoma) I am definitely in favor of “keeping it local.” Our election process and system must be held to a higher level than bidding out voting machines to the lowest bidder. Vote American, Buy American. Return to using paper ballots and archiving them for several years. Secure and protect our votes.
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Argument opposed

This type of increased scrutiny as to which vendors individual states use in elections could hike the cost of conducting elections by individual states.

Guy's Opinion
···
08/09/2018
This bill is a head fake to avoid the effective solution, give politicians a phone sound bite and enrich tech companies. Paper ballots are a much better solution. Electronic machines are always vulnerable no matter who makes them even if the software is not kept secret which it is. Digital voting machines are a recipe for fraud. And fraud has been proven. AuditAz.org. Paper is more difficult to corrupt, easy to accurately verify and very inexpensive. the stakes are far to high to not use paper ballots and keep them for verification. It matters not who prints the ballots. What is critical is who counts them. Electrons are far too easily manipulated by the invisible hand of corruption.
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mijackal9's Opinion
···
08/25/2018
So what if I’m a foreign owned domestic company? Or if My company has a majority share held by a foreign entity? Maybe if I’m a domestic company and I’m controlled by a foreign entity in some other way? I think this bill is beside the point that we need to use paper ballots. Information Security is about managing risk. Regardless of the controls in place, having ballots in digital form is too much risk than I think our nation should be willing to accept.
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JTJ's Opinion
···
08/26/2018
No, if Democrats cared about the integrity of our elections, they would implement voter ID laws.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
    IntroducedJuly 18th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 6435?

This bill ― the Election Vendor Security Act ― would prohibit States from entering into agreements with vendors for the provision, support, or maintenance of election systems if the vendors are owned or controlled by persons who aren’t U.S. citizens, or legal permanent residents. Vendors would be required to disclose whether they use foreign-made parts in their product. Additionally, vendors would have to adhere to cybersecurity best practices developed by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and report known or suspected cybersecurity threats to state authorities and EAC and DHS within 10 days.

Impact

Voters; government vendors; and election agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6435

A CBO estimate of this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) introduced this bill to enhance the security of U.S. elections by prohibiting states from using election system vendors owned by non-U.S. citizens:

“We know that Russian hackers targeted and hacked into our election systems in 2016. These attacks exposed serious national security vulnerabilities in our election infrastructure, including voter registration databases and the private networks of election technology vendors. We also know from American intelligence that Russian interference poses a continuing threat to our voting systems. But our GOP colleagues have refused to take action to safeguard our elections ahead of the 2018 midterms. We urge all our colleagues to take this threat seriously and to pass the Election Vendor Security Act without delay.”

Raskin serves on the Committee on House Administration, which oversees the EAC, the only federal agency charged with making elections more secure, accessible, accurate, and transparent.

“I want to thank Rep. Raskin for his steadfast commitment to safeguarding our nation’s election systems and for introducing this legislation,”said Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “Protecting the integrity of our election systems must be a top priority of Congress. The intelligence community made clear that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.  President Trump’s continuing failure to address this threat to our democracy requires that Congress do everything in its power to ensure that our states are prepared and our election systems are secure for the 2018 election.”

This legislation has the support of 25 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Lucas McConnell

(Photo Credit: iStock / cmannphoto)

AKA

Election Vendor Security Act

Official Title

To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit States from entering into agreements with vendors for the provision, support, or maintenance of election systems if the vendors are owned or controlled by persons who are not citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the United States or do not meet cybersecurity best practices, and for other purposes.

    Paper ballots are superior for security than the machines that can be hacked by preteens in 15 minuets. But if you insist on weak unsecured electronics, American made is theoretically better. As long as it’s Americans cheating, it’s fine, right? Because that’s what this bill is saying. P.S. I’m glad to see that most people realize that this is a BS bill. I was being sarcastic in my response, but, the common chorus of people calling for paper ballots on both the Yea and Nay sides prove that the electronic machines Country of origin is clearly not what concerns most of us in regards to election security. The fact is that the electronic machines have all the weaknesses of electronics. They are hackable, programmable, unverifiable, unsecured and mutable. For those states that lack a strong paper trail, your elections are fundamentally unproven. Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia have little to no paper trail. 15 states, literally a third of our states, 198 electoral votes, cannot validate their elections. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency and we have nearly 200 electoral votes that cannot really be proven. When you consider this list the concern that most of us have cannot be dismissed. Our elections need to be physically verifiable. That is what we actually care about.
    Like (132)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill is a head fake to avoid the effective solution, give politicians a phone sound bite and enrich tech companies. Paper ballots are a much better solution. Electronic machines are always vulnerable no matter who makes them even if the software is not kept secret which it is. Digital voting machines are a recipe for fraud. And fraud has been proven. AuditAz.org. Paper is more difficult to corrupt, easy to accurately verify and very inexpensive. the stakes are far to high to not use paper ballots and keep them for verification. It matters not who prints the ballots. What is critical is who counts them. Electrons are far too easily manipulated by the invisible hand of corruption.
    Like (62)
    Follow
    Share
    Go back to pencil and paper, both of those are produced right in the good ole US of A!
    Like (77)
    Follow
    Share
    Being a member of our county election board in a State that uses paper ballots (Oklahoma) I am definitely in favor of “keeping it local.” Our election process and system must be held to a higher level than bidding out voting machines to the lowest bidder. Vote American, Buy American. Return to using paper ballots and archiving them for several years. Secure and protect our votes.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    So what if I’m a foreign owned domestic company? Or if My company has a majority share held by a foreign entity? Maybe if I’m a domestic company and I’m controlled by a foreign entity in some other way? I think this bill is beside the point that we need to use paper ballots. Information Security is about managing risk. Regardless of the controls in place, having ballots in digital form is too much risk than I think our nation should be willing to accept.
    Like (17)
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    Paper and Pencil owned by Americans for American votes. Paper ballots cannot be hacked. Granted- need to have members from both parties to count to ensure accurate count.
    Like (13)
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    The Constitution charges the Federal government with overseeing states’ establishment of the laws that govern how we vote and ensures that those laws reflect the Constitutional requirements for how, when and by whom the election of Federal office holders occurs. The Elections Clause is the primary source of constitutional authority to regulate elections for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. The Clause directs and empowers states to determine the “Times, Places, and Manner” of congressional elections, subject to Congress’s authority to “make or alter” state regulations. It grants each level of government the authority to enact a complete code for such elections, including rules concerning public notices, voter registration, voter protection, FRAUD PREVENTION, vote counting, and determination of election results. Whenever a state enacts a law relating to a congressional election, it is exercising power under the Elections Clause; states do not have any inherent authority to enact such measures. Although the Elections Clause makes states primarily responsible for regulating congressional elections, it vests ultimate power in Congress. Congress may pass federal laws regulating congressional elections that automatically displace (“preempt”) any contrary state statutes, or enact its own regulations concerning those aspects of elections that states may not have addressed. The Framers of the Constitution were concerned that states might establish unfair election procedures or attempt to undermine the national government by refusing to hold elections for Congress. They empowered Congress to step in and regulate such elections as a self-defense mechanism. On occasion, Congress has exercised its power to “make or alter” rules concerning congressional elections, and some of its laws lie at the very heart of the modern electoral process. It has established a single national Election Day for congressional elections, and mandated that states with multiple Representatives in the U.S. House divide themselves into congressional districts, rather than electing all of their Representatives at-large. Congress also has enacted statutes limiting the amount of money that people may contribute to candidates for Congress, requiring that people publicly disclose most election-related spending, mandating that voter registration forms be made available at various public offices, and requiring states to ensure the accuracy of their voter registration rolls. The power of states and Congress to regulate congressional elections under the Elections Clause is subject to express and implicit limits. Fundamentally, neither entity can enact laws under the Elections Clause that violate other constitutional provisions. For example, the Constitution specifies that anyone who is eligible to vote for the larger house of a state legislature may vote for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate as well. The Elections Clause does not permit either the states or Congress to override those provisions by establishing additional qualifications for voting for Congress. Likewise, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the fundamental right to vote, barring states from needlessly imposing substantial burdens on the right. When a law specifies that a person must satisfy certain requirements or follow certain procedures in order to vote, a court must determine whether it is a reasonable regulation of the electoral process under the Elections Clause, or instead undermines the right to vote. Laws requiring people to register to vote in advance of elections or mandating that they vote at their assigned polling places are exactly the types of restrictions that the Elections Clause permits. The Constitution also specifies age, residency, and citizenship requirements to run for the House or Senate. Individuals who satisfy those requirements cannot be prohibited from running for office for failing to satisfy other qualifications. States can, however, impose reasonable ballot access restrictions that a candidate must fulfill in order to appear on the ballot, such as submitting a petition signed by a certain number of registered voters. The Supreme Court has aggressively enforced this restriction by invalidating various attempts to impose term limits on Members of Congress. In U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton (1995), the Court held that the Elections Clause did not permit a state to refuse to print on the ballot the names of candidates for the U.S. House who already had served three terms there, or the names of candidates for the U.S. Senate who had already served two terms. The Supreme Court has explained that the Elections Clause also imposes implicit restrictions on the power to regulate congressional elections. Neither Congress nor the states may attempt to dictate electoral outcomes, or favor or disfavor certain classes of candidates. In Cook v. Gralike (2001), the Court struck down a provision that required election officials to print a special warning on the ballot next to the name of any candidate for Congress who refused to support an amendment to the U.S Constitution that would impose term limits for Congress. The Court explained that the provision exceeded the state’s power under the Elections Clause because it was “plainly designed” to favor candidates who supported term limits, while placing others at a disadvantage. One unusual feature of the Elections Clause is that it does not confer the power to regulate congressional elections on states as a whole, but rather the “Legislature” of each state. The Supreme Court has construed the term “Legislature” extremely broadly to include any entity or procedure that a state’s constitution permits to exercise lawmaking power. Thus, laws regulating congressional elections may be enacted not only by a state’s actual legislature, but also directly by a state’s voters through the initiative process or public referendum, in states that allow such procedures. The Court also has held that a legislature may delegate its authority under the Elections Clause to other entities or officials. A few states have chosen to transfer power to draw congressional district lines from their respective legislatures to non-partisan or bipartisan “independent redistricting commissions.” These states believe that such commissions can make the electoral process more fair by preventing voters from being divided into congressional districts in ways that unduly protect existing officeholders (“gerrymandering”). As this summary shows, congressional elections are conducted under a complicated mix of state and federal laws, reflecting the Elections Clause’s division of authority between state legislatures and Congress. IMHO, this bill is an appropriate attempt to establish specific requirements for the manufacture of voting machines used in our elections as one aspect of improving federal oversight of our elections in general.There is much more that can and should be done at the federal level to ensure free and fair elections that are free of outside influence from other countries and entities. This is one way to begin, but it is by no means the answer to our electoral problems!
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    We need consistency from Federal, State , County and local elections. Uniform paper ballots,monitors and counting of ballots and voter identification. We have far too many ways of casting , counting. Voter fraud I feel is far more prevalent than known whether it’s illegals, dead people, or being on voter rolls in multiple states. The Federal government can help with this. #MAGA
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    Well duh....
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    This may assist in ensuring that there is less ability to corrupt an election via these machines. However, in the case of the Florida and Ohio election scandals of 2000 and 2004, Republicans modified the programming code of the voting machines. What protections are in place to protect the elections and The People from nefarious individuals, groups or companies within the United States?
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    No, if Democrats cared about the integrity of our elections, they would implement voter ID laws.
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    Not only NO, but HE// NO. Why in the world would the United States have allowed ANY OTHER COUNTRY TO BE IN CHARGE OF OUR ELECTIONS, LET ALONE RUSSIANS. That is the stupidest idea anyone ever came up with. PAPER BALLOTS & US CONTROL OF ELECTIONS NOW.
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    Surprised this wasn’t always the case. Then again, Hillary didn’t lose until 2016.
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    No brainer. Tight specifications and controls are a must. It would be sooo easy for bugs to be slipped in during manufacturing and/or maintenance. I for one, would like to see paper ballots return. Electronics are easy to hack as we have experienced.
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    Guarantee free and fair and true election results. And demand paper ballot back ups/ retention to ensure accurate vote counts.
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    A good measure, but we all know that unfortunately there are American traitors in our midst.
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    Paper ballots!
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    We ned to use paper ballots and by mail voting. we do it in wa state and it is great. we also have a very low incidence of voter fraud.
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    I'm good with paper and pen and personal signature. My state still uses that and we don't have as many issues here. Look... if you are giving people who are in our country illegally the right to vote, you are being a hypocrite if you are also complaining about Russian interference in our elections. Putin might as well boat his people over our boarders during election time with voting instructions and then bring them back home when the elections are over.
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    We need to dump the electronic voting since the integrity of the system is flawed. Go back to paper ballots and implement a voter ID law to insure only legitimate eligible American citizens are voting.
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