Cooper Cosponsors Bipartisan Election Security Bill
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) announced that he will cosponsor the bipartisan Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act. The bill would make it a federal crime to hack voting systems, allowing the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute those who seek to manipulate election systems equipment in federal elections.
“The U.S. needs all the necessary tools to prevent foreign adversaries from meddling in our elections,” Rep. Cooper said. “The Director of the National Intelligence Service, former Indiana Republican Senator Dan Coats, testified last summer – along with the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA and DIA – that ‘the United States is under attack.’ It is time to respond and work to protect American democracy and ensure voter confidence in our election system.”
Tennesseans have already been victims of hacking. A now defunct Twitter account posing as the Tennessee Republican Party in 2016 was actually an account run by Russians with 100,000 followers. In 2018, the Knox County Election Commission website was the victim of a cyberattack that didn’t change any election results but did shut down the site for a period of time on election night.
Other original cosponsors of the bill include Republicans Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) and Democrats Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).
Cooper has long urged the state of Tennessee and individual Tennessee counties to protect its citizens against cyberattacks. Bipartisan experts agree that paper ballot machines, which provide an auditable back-up in the event of an attack, are the best way to ensure the integrity of our system. The federal government has appropriated funds to the states to help convert to paper ballot machines. Davidson County becomes the first county to convert to a paper ballot system in recent years, and those machines will be in use in this year’s municipal elections