On Monday, Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., announced a bill to provide funding to states to safeguard voting systems from cyberattacks. Citing the Robert Mueller report, Menendez demanded that Congress act to secure election infrastructure from foreign adversaries like Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea.

“We must treat the Mueller report like a preview of what’s to come. Russia-linked actors will target our election infrastructure in 2020 – perhaps with even greater sophistication,” Sen. Menendez said in a statement, adding, “With the election a year and half away, we don’t have the luxury of time.”

The piece of legislation announced is the Protecting the Right to Independent and Democratic Elections (PRIDE) Act which will establish a grant program for election security under the Department of Homeland Security’s authority. The grants would be awarded to states who:

  • Implement or improve the use of auditable paper ballots;
  • Conduct post-election risk limiting audits; and
  • Implement cybersecurity standards and best practices.

Sen. Menendez first introduced the PRIDE Act in the 115th Congress and was cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., but made it no further.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.