In response to revelations about Russia’s attempts to hack into state and local elections systems last year, U.S. Sen. Angus King on Tuesday told the Department of Homeland Security that protecting elections should be a priority.
According to a release from King’s office, King questioned the DHS Acting Undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate and the DHS Acting Director of Office of Intelligence and Analysis’ Cyber Division about how the federal government is helping state and local officials to protect their elections systems.
“I would urge you to put some urgency on this,” King said. “We’ve got another election coming in eighteen months, and if we are talking about systems and registration rolls, time is going by. I believe this is, as we’ve already heard characterized, a very grave threat. It’s going to be back, and shame on us if we’re not prepared.”
On January 6, a joint assessment of Russian activities in the 2016 election found that “Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards.”
Last month, King warned that “voting equipment will certainly be subject to sophisticated cyberattacks,” telling leaders of an appropriations subcommittee that “to fail to cybersecure this foundation stone of our representative democracy will undermine our own people’s faith in the integrity of our political system as well as to diminish the example we set for the nations of the world.”