WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 28, 2019)  – Following the findings in a recently released report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), a coalition of government watchdog organizations, including Free Speech For People, FreedomWorks, National Election Defense Coalition and Public Citizen, sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules & Administration and to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration.  The letter urges the Committees to conduct a hearing on election security and to hold voting machine vendors accountable for recurrent security risks and vulnerabilities with their systems.

“Recent news reports have disclosed troubling weaknesses in commercially marketed voting systems and disturbing conduct by voting system vendors, raising significant questions that are unanswered. The voting system vendors have operated with little oversight and no regulation for decades. Given the gravity and urgency of this issue, we write to you to urge the committees to hold a hearing on election system security featuring sworn testimony from officers of the voting system vendors to shed more light on their practices which directly impact the security of the nation,” the letter said. 

The letter details five threats to election security that must be addressed including: 1) voting systems that rely on aged Windows 7 operating systems; 2) voting systems with pre-installed remote access software; 3) voting system vendors with board of advisors comprised of election officials responsible for negotiating sales and service contracts; 4) unanswered and incomplete information regarding the ownership and financial backing of the three top voting system vendors; 5) many states and localities contract with smaller companies to service, maintain and program their voting equipment. 

The coalition’s letter comes amidst a recent lack of bipartisan consensus in Washington on adequate election security measures. Congress must now decide what measures to take ahead of the 2020 elections. 

Read the full letter here.