Skip Navigation
Testimony

Testimony on Election Infrastructure before the House Committee on Homeland Security

Gowri Ramachandran, senior counsel, testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security’s subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation about election infrastructure and threats to our democracy.

Published: January 20, 2022

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.