Rep. Sherrill’s Bipartisan Election Security Bill Approved by the House Science Committee

H.R. 4990 Now Heads to House Floor for Consideration

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill

PARSIPPANY — Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Chairwoman of the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, applauded the committee passage of her Election Technology Research Act of 2019 (H.R. 4990). This bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Frank Lucas (R-OK), will give the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) new resources to conduct research to promote the security and modernization of U.S. voting systems.

“Election security is a bipartisan concern, and our committee is working together to address vulnerabilities with our voting systems,” said Representative Sherrill. “Our democracy only works if all eligible citizens can participate in elections and be confident that their ballots have been accurately cast and counted. The Election Technology Research Act of 2019 will help to ensure that the technical underpinnings of our election architecture are solid.”

 The Election Technology Research Act of 2019 will authorize new research and standards activities to strengthen the technology supporting elections systems. Specifically, this bill will:

  • Authorize research activities at NIST on cybersecurity, privacy, auditing, and other important areas of research related to the security and integrity of elections;
  • Establish an Elections Systems Center of Excellence at NIST to foster collaborations between NIST, universities, state and local governments, and private stakeholders;
  • Authorize new research grants for elections systems research and education at NSF;
  • Direct NIST to carry out specific tasks supporting secure elections, including providing technical assistance to state and local election officials on implementation of cybersecurity and privacy standards;
  • Require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to assess the impact of NIST’s activities; and
  • Amend the Help America Vote Act definition of “voting systems” to include not just the voting machines but also electronic poll books and voter registration systems.

On June 26, 2019, House Science Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairwoman Mikie Sherrill held a hearing with voting technology and election administration experts to discuss U.S. election system technologies and research recommendations made in the 2018 National Academies report Securing the Vote: Protecting American Democracy. The report and the expert testimony from that hearing helped informed the development of the Election Technology Research Act of 2019.

Representative Mikie Sherrill is a former federal prosecutor and a U.S. Navy veteran. On her last tour, she served as a Russia policy officer, and handled interactions between the United States Navy and the Russian Federation Navy. In June, Representative Sherrill announced her endorsement of a series of bipartisan bills in the House and Senate to address foreign interference and election security.