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House Committee Votes to Terminate Agency that Protects Voting Machines from Hacking

Killing the one federal agency charged with upgrading our voting systems, and helping to protect our elections from hacking, is risky and irresponsible.

February 7, 2017

Today, the House Administration Committee, by a party-line 6–3 vote, approved the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Termination Act (H.R. 634) and a bill to dissolve the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (H.R. 133).

H.R. 634 would eliminate the EAC, an independent government agency that sets security standards for voting machines and functions as a clearinghouse for election administration, among other duties.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law released the following statement from Democracy Program Director Wendy Weiser:

“This bill would kill the one federal agency charged with upgrading our voting systems. At a time when the vast majority of the country’s voting machines are outdated and in need of replacement, and after an election in which foreign criminals already tried to hack state voter registration systems, eliminating the EAC poses a risky and irresponsible threat to our election infrastructure.

“Destroying the presidential public financing program is also the wrong step for America. On the heels of an election in which Americans made clear that they are unhappy with the influence of big money over our politics, Congress should strengthen, not scrap, the system.”

Read the Brennan Center’s letter urging the committee to reject the bill.

In 2016, 42 states used voting machines that were at least a decade old, which is perilously close to the end of most systems’ expected lifespans. Old voting equipment can have serious security and reliability flaws.