Earlier this week, I appeared before the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security to urge lawmakers to prioritize investments in election security and administration. You can watch my testimony in full here, but here’s the bottom line.
As Secretary of State of California, I know the threats our country’s elections are facing because I see them every day. Election officials across the country are on the front lines, serving as first responders to attacks on our democracy.
That is the experience and perspective I brought to Congress.
And I was brutally honest: I highlighted the fact that elections are underfunded and are too often a low priority for federal, state, and local governments. The last time Congress approved new funding for elections was after the 2000 Presidential election (remember butterfly ballots and hanging chads?). Voting systems in too many states are simply too old and outdated.
In addition to more funding, I urged Congress to seize the opportunity to take the known best practices for election security and make them the national standard. I shared our policies like the rigorous testing and certification of voting systems, requiring paper ballots and a voter verified paper trail, keeping our voting systems offline, and requiring post-election audits after every election.
These policies have served California well for many years. And since the 2016 election, we ramped up our measures even more.
While California is a proud national leader on policy, it’s clear that the federal government can and should do more to strengthen election security and improve election administration throughout the nation.
The threats to our elections continue. And those who seek to undermine our democracy will only increase their efforts in both frequency and sophistication. This means we must constantly learn about, scrutinize, test, and upgrade our security.
I hope Congress heeds our warning and takes action to better fund election security and advance policies to defend our democracy.
Let’s keep fighting
California Secretary of State