U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.); Amy Klobuchar, ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee (D-Minn.); and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have introduced legislation to bring greater transparency to America’s election systems in an effort to protect our country from foreign interference, as occurred in the 2016 presidential election. The “Election Systems Integrity Act,” (S. 3572) would require disclosure of foreign ownership of election service providers.
This past summer, it was revealed that a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin has become the largest investor in a fund tied to the company that hosts Maryland’s statewide voter registration, candidacy and election management system; the online voter registration system; online ballot delivery system; and the unofficial election night results website. Disclosure to state officials of this change in ownership was made by the FBI, not the company itself.
“There is bipartisan agreement that our elections are under threat from foreign cyberattacks and disinformation efforts. It makes securing the integrity of our elections one of our highest national security priorities,” said Cardin. “While there are many safeguards in place, the American people have a right to know when foreign players have made their way in to the very inner workings of our election system. Transparency and communication between all levels of government will help keep our future elections free and fair.”