On January 20, 2022, Gowri Ramachandran, senior counsel, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security’s subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation about the threats that the election sabotage movement is posing to election infrastructure and ways to bolster election infrastructure against these threats.
The heroic efforts of many, and in particular state and local election officials committed to free and fair elections, gave us a safe and secure election in November 2020 with historic turnout. Longstanding best practices, such as the provision of emergency paper ballots, paper pollbook backups, and pollworkers on standby, took long hours and plenty of financial resources to implement during this election with added pandemic-related costs. Carrying out these practices demonstrated a commitment by election officials to ensure eligible voters would not be turned away, even in the case of malfunctioning equipment or a potential cyberattack.
Maintaining a secure election infrastructure will require effort from many parts of society. Congress can lead the way in this effort, by providing resources for states and local jurisdictions to implement measures that protect against insider threats, such as video surveillance of election equipment and background checks for personnel. Congress should also incentivize election vendors’ adoption of best practices for personnel and supply chain security, by requiring that federal funds spent on election vendors go to those who agree to abide by these security measures, and by requiring risk-limiting audits in federal elections. Unlike sham partisan reviews, these would be true election integrity improvements.
Our election infrastructure is strong, as shown by the 2020 election, but it is facing a growing anti-democracy threat from within. Congress should protect democracy from that threat by investing in true election integrity measures.