Common Cause Urges U.S. House Members to Pass Critical Election Security Legislation in SAFE Act

Common Cause is urging every member of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote “yes” on the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act (HR 2722) when it goes to a floor vote later this week. A Monday letter to Members emphasized that the critical legislation will help ensure that states and localities get the necessary resources and take key steps to make our election infrastructure resilient in the face of the ongoing attacks by hostile nation state actors.

“Our elections are the lifeblood of our democracy and the SAFE Act will help ensure that our local election infrastructure is not overwhelmed by hostile foreign powers seeking to influence the outcomes of our elections,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “Our election systems have been attacked and those attacks continue to this day so we must make the critical investment to safeguard them. The stakes are too high and it would be irresponsible and dangerous for the federal government not to step in to provide the resources and the expertise to protect our elections. Strapped states and counties should not be expected to defend themselves from foreign attacks on their own. The matchup is too unfair and U.S. citizens will lose unless the federal government steps in.”

As the letter emphasized, the SAFE Act includes the following critical measures:

  • Requires that all voting systems produce a voter verifiable paper ballot – a critical failsafe and low-tech deterrent to attempts to tamper with vote counts by introducing sophisticated malware into vote tallying system;
  • Establishes a grant program so states have necessary resources to conduct risk limiting audits to ensure that the results of the election are accurate and free of tampering.
  • Establishes a grant program through the National Science Foundation to support research and development of systems that enhance the accessibility of paper ballots for people with disabilities, voters whose primary language is not English, and for voters with difficulties in literacy;
  • Directs the Election Assistance Commission to conduct a study on ways to enhance the usability of ballots;
  • Requires vendors to report cybersecurity breaches and other cyber security incidents; and
  • Requires vendors to certify their systems to the latest Voluntary Voting System Guidelines and to make source code available for inspection by the public.

The letter notes that Common Cause plans to key-vote final passage of the SAFE Act, in our Democracy Scorecard, which we send to our 1.2 million members.

To read the full letter, click here.