Today, Reps. Jim Himes, D-Conn., and John Ratcliffe, R-Texas introduced new legislation that would establish election interference as a Federal crime. The bipartisan bill, dubbed the Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act, would make it a Federal crime to hack a voting system used in a Federal election.

In a statement, Himes and Ratcliffe explained that according to the Justice Department, “current Federal law doesn’t directly apply punishments for hacking voting machines that aren’t connected to the internet.”

“Every day, our geopolitical rivals are working to infiltrate and interfere with our electoral process,” said Himes. “If we’re not thinking of ways to protect our systems and deter attacks five, ten, fifteen years in the future, we risk falling behind and losing our substantial technological advantage. This bill will expand the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a move the Department of Justice Cyber Task Force has identified as a priority, to prohibit hacking of voting machines.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Doug Collins, R-Ga., Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Greg Steube, R-Fla., Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Ben Cline, R-Va. and Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.