Common Cause Praises Senate Intelligence Committee Investigation into Russian Cyber Attacks on US Elections; Urges Action to Prepare for Future Threats

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  • David Vance

Today, Common Cause praised the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the Russian government’s cyber attacks on the U.S. election infrastructure and urged the Committee to make recommendations which would safeguard the United States from future attacks.

“Our elections were targeted by a foreign power,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “If the attack had been with bombs, not bits, there would be a national military response. But because the attack was digital, the response has not been as coordinated or as visible. That needs to change.” 

The letter noted that other countries have responded to the threat of cyberattacks by altering how they conduct elections and count ballots. The Netherlands switched from machine counting ballots to hand counting ballots.[1] The French curtailed all internet voting for parliamentary elections.  “Other countries have radically stepped up security measures in response to this threat, and yet in the United States we still allow ballots to be cast by email, the most insecure form of communication,” said Flynn

The letter emphasized a number Intelligence Community reports that the attacks will continue and that our election infrastructure must be made resilient in the face of such attacks.   

The letter recommends basic steps that must be taken to safeguard the security of U.S. elections. The recommendations include: replacing paperless electronic voting machines with systems providing voter-verified paper ballots; instituting risk-limiting audits to ensure accurate vote counts before election results are certified; prohibiting casting by email as it’s not secure.

To read the letter, click here.

[1] Sewell Chan, “Fearful of Hacking, Dutch Will Count Ballots by Hand,” N.Y. Times, Feb. 1, 2017,