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Republicans Just Voted To End The Agency That Protects Voting Machines From Hacks

Republicans Just Voted To End The Agency That Protects Voting Machines From Hacks

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While the confirmation of the hopelessly unqualified Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary dominated media attention today, House Republicans have begun to open up elections to cyber attacks. They pushed a bill to abolish the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) through the House Administration Committee today with every Republican on the committee voting in favor of the measure, which will now go to the floor of the House.

The EAC is responsible for helping states run elections efficiently and fairly. It is the only federal agency that is charged with protecting electronic voting machines from hacking. The EAC should be an uncontroversial institution, especially given the current Republican crusade against “rigged” elections and “voter fraud.”

There is a current investigation underway into alleged attempts by the Russian government and international hackers to tamper with the 2016 presidential election. Against this backdrop any move to cut rather than strengthen the EAC is indefensible.

Thirty eight pro-democracy groups have already publicly denounced the bill. The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law released a statement saying,

“At a time when the vast majority of our country’s voting machines are outdated and in need of replacement, and after an election in which international criminals already attempted to hack our state voter registration systems, eliminating the EAC would pose a risky and irresponsible threat to our election infrastructure. H.R. 133 would destroy a presidential public financing system that is one of the few remaining tools to increase the voice of everyday Americans.”

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With a Republican dominated Congress and Donald Trump in the White House the abolition of the EAC is well within the realm of possibility. This is a clear attempt to undermine democratic institutions and silence the American people. We must not stand for it.

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