US Democrats push $1 billion bill for election security

The US director of National Intelligence Dan Coats

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 18, 2018.

The Congressional Task Force on Election Security released a report on Wednesday that outlines 10 recommendations to protect state election systems for cyberattacks, including allocating funds, more training, minimum requirements for voting machines, and threat assessments.

With the threat of Russian interference continuing to loom over American elections, US intelligence authorities are arming state officials with classified updates on risks to their electoral systems ahead of this year's midterm races.

"We can not let the Russians laugh about and take joy in the success they had in the last election", Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, said at a news conference.

Lawmakers have introduced several bills, some with bipartisan support, to bolster election security since the 2016 polls in which Republican Donald Trump was elected president. Add Midterm Elections as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Midterm Elections news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

The legislation has no Republican co-sponsors in the House, which is controlled by the party.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at an event hosted by the online news site Axios, said that Americans could trust the 2016 election results and that it was an "ongoing effort" of Trump's administration to protect election infrastructure. It directs the president to issue a national strategy to "protect US democratic institutions against cyber attacks, influence operations, disinformation campaigns, and other activities that could undermine the security and integrity of such institutions" within a year of enactment.

The briefings over the weekend will focus on "increasing awareness of foreign adversary intent and capabilities against the states' election infrastructure, as well as a discussion of threat mitigation efforts", the intelligence office said.

The largest chunk of funding would be a $1 billion Election Assistance Commission grant available to states to replace old, insecure voting machines with machines that scan auditable paper ballots.

The department past year said 21 states had experienced initial probing of their systems from Russian hackers and a small number of networks were compromised.

He stressed that "As it acquires USA firms, and technology, and intellectual property, as well as the know-how to put it to use, the risk is that the Chinese government, which has its tentacles not just in state-owned Chinese companies, but also in so-called private Chinese firms, that it will get its hands on these capabilities and use them against us".

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday the U.S intelligence community concluded Russian Federation had no effect on the 2016 election outcome, despite recent assertions and warnings made by top intelligence officials about Russia's efforts. Intelligence agencies concluded in January 2017 that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered efforts to hack and influence the 2016 presidential election.

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