Recap Of Chairman Lynch Hearing On U.S. Election Security And Preparedness

May 24, 2019 Issues: Committee on Oversight and Reform, National Security

Washington, D.C. – On May 22nd, 2019, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, held a hearing on “Securing U.S. Election Infrastructure and Protecting Political Discourse.” This hearing examined the security of the nation’s election systems, including the government’s response to ongoing attempts by malicious actors to interfere in our elections, influence public opinion, and undermine U.S. electoral processes. The hearing also examined the important role of state and local governments, as well as private sector partners, to protect U.S. election security systems, infrastructure, and technology platforms.

TAKEAWAYS

• Subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch emphasized that protecting the integrity of our democratic process is critical to safeguarding public confidence in U.S. election outcomes and ensuring a peaceful transition of power.

• Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub and Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin highlighted the need for greater congressional oversight of social media companies and information technology platforms to improve transparency about how, and by whom, political and campaign advertisements are financed.

• Chair Weintraub also testified that hidden money from foreign sources represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy.

• Election Assistance Commission Chair Christy McCormick spoke about the need for additional resources and personnel at her agency as they are “strained to the breaking point” in their work with state and local officials to secure election systems.

• Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs testified that “auditability is a key tenant of cybersecurity” and that it is important to get “systems that don’t have paper out, and systems with paper in.”  Similarly, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Galvin explained how his state uses a paper ballot system to serve as a backup in case electronic voting machines fail or are breached.

• Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google testified about their improved information-sharing relationships with federal law enforcement since the 2016 election, but emphasized the need for continued coordination as our adversaries’ information operations and tactics evolve.

WITNESSES

Panel One

The Honorable Christopher KrebsDirector, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency - U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Adam HickeyDeputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division - U.S. Department of Justice

The Honorable Christy McCormickChair - U.S. Election Assistance Commission

The Honorable Ellen L. WeintraubChair - U.S. Federal Election Commission

Panel Two

The Honorable Bill GalvinSecretary of the Commonwealth - State of Massachusetts

Richard SalgadoDirector of Law Enforcement and Information Security - Google

Nathaniel GleicherHead of Cybersecurity Policy - Facebook

Kevin KanePublic Policy Manager - Twitter

VIDEOS

Watch Chairman Lynch's opening statement here.