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ELECTIONS AND VOTING SECURITY


By Chair of House Science, Space, and Technology Committee

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)


As Americans cast our ballots in the 2020 presidential election amid a global pandemic and a divided country, we must not disregard the many ongoing threats to our democratic institutions. And further, we must continue to protect our most sacred right and responsibility as citizens, our vote.

The greatest threats our society faces today are the spread of misinformation and the active disenfranchisement of American citizens. Both are human failures and vulnerabilities that have been amplified by technology.

As technology touches all aspects of our lives and society, it too has become an integral part of the elections process. Our election system is complicated, and there are many different aspects of it that rely on technology in some form. As a result, there are numerous challenges to making sure our election system is secure, fair, and accessible.

One such challenge is election security, which has been an active topic of conversation in Congress recently, as it should be. It is an urgent topic for the nation and for the state of Texas.

In the 2018 election, at least 78 counties in Texas saw malfunctioning electronic voting machines that changed some voters’ selections from Democrat to Republican and deleted some voters all together. Cybersecurity experts believe that the voting machine anomalies in Texas can be attributed to old technology and not to hackers, but it is easy to imagine how a bad actor might seek to take advantage of exactly this kind of vulnerability in Texas and across the country.

It is now time that the federal government strengthen our policy, leadership, and funding to ensure free, fair, transparent, and secure elections. I am so proud to have cosponsored Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill’s (NJ-11) Election Technology Research Act. This bill would authorize research and standards development activities to help modernize and secure our election systems, ensuring they are accessible to all. We must take care to not lose sight of the vulnerabilities inherent to the technologies that we use to cast and count our votes. Our very democracy is on the line.

Texans can vote early at any polling location in their home counties on weekdays from Tuesday, October 13, through Friday, October 30. If you would like to deliver a mail-in-ballot in person, you can hand-deliver it to an official at your county election office. Remember that you are not required to remove your masks when presenting your photo ID to a poll worker, and that if you don’t want to risk going into a polling location Texas election law mandates that all locations offer curbside voting.

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