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Glimmers of momentum for election security bill

A Senate proposal to secure the U.S. election system has a companion bill in the House and a prominent Republican co-sponsor.

A bipartisan group of four lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee have introduced a House version of the Secure Elections Act, which would authorize block grants for states to upgrade voting machines and other equipment, allow the Department of Homeland Security to more quickly share election cybersecurity threat information with state and local governments and streamline the security clearance process for state and local election officials.

One co-sponsor, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairs the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and has been at the forefront of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into purported Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election. The other co-sponsors are Reps. Thomas Rooney (R-Fl.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.)

"Hostile foreign actors have attempted and will continue to attempt to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy by attacking our electoral process," said Gowdy in a statement. "It is our responsibility to take every precaution necessary to safeguard our elections and ensure no vote count is ever interfered with."

Text of the House version is still being put together, but a staffer for one of the House sponsors told FCW the contents are expected to be largely the same as the version currently working its way through the Senate. That bill is currently scheduled to be marked up by the Senate Rules Committee on Aug. 22.

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