Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Backs Bills to Fortify Election Security

Sep 24, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today announced he is co-sponsoring two separate bills to strengthen the country’s election security systems and combat state-sponsored cyber-attacks that undermine our elections.

Buchanan is co-sponsoring the Election Security Assistance Act and the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act. Together, these bills will provide significant new resources to upgrade and protect our election infrastructure and bolster our ability to thwart election interference by bad actors around the globe.

“We need to make sure our electoral process is not jeopardized by Russian meddling or any other state-sponsored hackers or rogue regimes,” Buchanan said. “The revelation that two Florida counties were hacked by Russians in 2016 is a disturbing reminder that our country remains vulnerable to cyber threats. We need a bipartisan approach to prevent such interference in 2020 and beyond.”

The Election Security Assistance Act (H.R. 3412) would provide nearly $400 million in grants for states and localities to upgrade aging election infrastructure. The bill would also create the Election Cyber Assistance Unit within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to offer information and best practices for state and local election officials. Additionally, would allow the sharing of currently restricted election security information among DHS and chief state election officials.

The Cyber Deterrence and Response Act (H.R. 1493), would give the federal government the ability to more effectively respond to state-sponsored cyber-attacks. Specifically, the bill would establish a process to deter and respond to cyber-attacks from foreign entities by requiring the president to identify and impose financial sanctions and travel restrictions on foreign nationals and entities involved in cyber-attacks. The bill passed the U.S. House with broad bipartisan support in the previous Congress.

Buchanan is also an original co-sponsor of the Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security Act (H.R. 3529) which would require that the Department of Homeland Security swiftly notifies state and local officials of any breaches of election systems. The bill also requires state and local officials to inform potentially affected voters.

Earlier this year Buchanan attended a classified FBI briefing on Russian hacking of Florida election systems.