|You might favor this bill if:
► You believe that the U.S. elections should be protected by all means. This should include providing financial support and enhanced security for the infrastructure carrying out the elections.
|You might oppose this bill if:
► You believe that resources should be properly managed and authorization of funds to states to enhance the security of the voting system is a waste of resources. The security checks and infrastructures already in place are enough to protect all U.S. elections.
The Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act takes real, concrete steps to secure America’s elections by providing funding for states to replace outdated and vulnerable voting equipment, mandate paper ballot voting systems, risk-limiting post-election audits and contains strict cybersecurity requirements for election technology vendors and voting systems.
The SAFE Act prohibits wireless and internet connectivity on systems that count ballots, therefore making voting polls harder to hack.
The bill requires accountability for how these funds are to be spent. The act creates “election technology vendors” and sets cybersecurity standards; This limits the state’s expenditures on goods and services with funds provided under this bill to be strictly on voting technology.
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC), in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), establishes the criteria for achieving such a vendor status, which includes maintaining IT infrastructure in a manner consistent with the best practices provided by the EAC and agreeing to report any known or suspected security incidents involving election infrastructure.
A total of $600 million is to be made available for the EAC program to assist in securing election infrastructure. The grant is provided to state and local election officials to replace aging voting machines with voter-verified paper ballot voting systems.
The paper ballot system requires:
・an individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballot made available for inspection and verification;
・all votes to be counted by hand or read by an optical character recognition device.
・the ballot is to be printed or marked in such a way that it can be inspected and verified by the voter without training or instruction or audited by election officials without the aid of any machine or other equipment.
The term “Individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballot,” indicates a paper ballot marked by the voter by hand or a paper ballot marked through the use of a non-tabulating ballot marking device or system.
The grant also supports hiring IT staff, cybersecurity training, security and risk vulnerability assessments, and other activities to secure election infrastructure.
The legislation requires states to implement risk-limiting audits. Considered to be a critical tool for ensuring the integrity of elections, these audits involve the hand counting of some number of ballots alongside the use of statistical methods to determine the accuracy of the original vote tally.
This system is proven effective at detecting any incorrect election outcomes, whether caused by a cyber-attack or something more mundane like a programming error.
The act ensures that individuals with disabilities and others are given an equivalent opportunity to vote, including privacy and independence by establishing a $5 million grant program to study and report on the accessibility of paper ballot voting systems, verification mechanisms, including for individuals with disabilities, voters with difficulties in literacy, and voters whose primary language is not English.