New legislation seeks to prevent US voting systems from being hacked

Representative Hank Johnson is proposing disconnecting voting machines from the internet

A U.S. lawmaker has introduced two bills to protect voting systems from hacking, amid fears that Russian cyber spies may be interfering with this year's presidential election.

Representative Hank Johnson, a Democrat serving Georgia, is proposing a moratorium on state purchases of electronic voting machines that don't produce a paper trail. His Election Integrity Act, introduced Wednesday, would also prohibit voting systems from being connected to the internet as a way to prevent online tampering.

The high-profile hack of the Democratic National Committee publicized in June has citizens worried that U.S. election systems may be vulnerable, Johnson said.

The hack of the DNC stole sensitive files that were later leaked online. Although the FBI is investigating the breach, U.S. intelligence officials are reportedly confident that the Russian government was involved.

Security experts have also long been warning that some U.S. voting machines are outdated and rife with security holes. This can make them easy to hack or prone to casting ballot errors.

"We must work to reduce the vulnerability of our crucial voting systems," Johnson said in a statement. His bills were also meant to address "well-documented efforts" of alleged voter suppression, he added.

Johnson's second bill proposes designating U.S. voting systems as critical infrastructure, meaning that the federal government would take a role in protecting it. The country's electrical grid and banking sector are among those already designated as critical infrastructure.

Johnson's bill would also require the Department of Homeland Security to submit a plan to Congress to protect the U.S. election process from threats including cyber terrorism. In addition, it asks that better standards be developed so that citizens can verify their votes.

Johnson introduced his bills just weeks after the FBI began warning that hackers had targeted two state election systems. One of those breaches may have involved stealing login credentials from a county official that could have allowed the hackers to delete voter registration records.

Johnson's bills are unlikely to pass in Congress this year because legislative activity slows down as the national election approaches.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags votinggovernmenthacking

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?