A bipartisan pair of senators introduced legislation that would strengthen the IT security of many voting systems across the country.

Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced the Strengthening Election Cybersecurity to Uphold Respect for Elections through Independent Testing (SECURE IT) Act on May 10, which will require voting machines to go through penetration tests.

“If we’re going to defeat our adversaries, we have to be able to think like they do. The SECURE IT Act would allow researchers to step into the shoes of cybercriminals and uncover vulnerabilities and weaknesses that might not be found otherwise,” said Sen. Warner.

The legislation will require Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to conduct penetration tests with a certain set of requirements as well as certify such tests.

“This bipartisan legislation will strengthen the integrity of our election process by ensuring that voting systems are safe and secure,” said Sen. Collins. “It will help protect and bolster public confidence in our elections.”

The legislation will also create a voluntary coordinated vulnerability disclosure program for election systems which will help disclose any type of cybersecurity flaw found in voting systems.

The SECURE IT Act will create a space where researchers and election systems manufacturers can work together to find—and fix—any cybersecurity vulnerability that may exist in our election infrastructure,” said Dr. Juan E. Gilbert, Chair of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department at the University of Florida.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.