March 21, 2018

Wyden Renews Call for Paper Ballots and Mandatory Audits, After DHS Secretary Says Paperless Voting Machines Pose “A National Security Concern”

No Federal Agency Has Authority to Mandate Voting Paper Trail

Washington, D.C. –Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called for all states to adopt paper ballots and post-election audits, following a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on election security today.

“Americans don't expect states, much less county officials, to fight America's wars,” Wyden said. The Russians have attacked our election infrastructure and leaving our defenses to states and local entities, in my view, is not an adequate response. Our country needs baseline, mandatory, federal election security standards and what I'm talking about here are paper ballots and post-election, risk-limiting audits.”

In response to questions from Wyden, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said voting machines without a verifiable paper trail pose “a national security concern,” that the federal government does not currently have the authority to address.

View Wyden’s full q-and-a here.

Wyden plans to introduce legislation soon requiring paper trails for very vote, and risk-limiting audits after every federal election.

Wyden also highlighted concerns about security of electronic voting machines. He has pressed the nation’s largest voting machine manufacturer, ES&S, to explain whether it sells voting machines with modems and remote access software, which would pose a major security weakness for hackers. In October, Wyden asked the six largest voting machine manufacturers whether they had taken basic steps to secure machines, but the companies largely failed to answer his questions.