Let’s return for a moment to HR 634, otherwise known in this space as the “Happy Hackers Act of 2017.”
The link above should take you to the text of the bill as introduced by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS). In one page the bill terminates the Election Assistance Commission, puts the OMB in charge of “transition,” fobs the duties off on the dysfunctional FEC, and off we go into the wild west of happy hackers.
The bill was introduced on January 24, 2017 and was reported out on a 6-3 party line vote in the House Committee on Administration on February 7th, the same day Democrats filed objections (pdf) to the measure with the House Committee on Administration. Democrats noted that the EAC plays a “critical role in holding voting machine vendors accountable and ensuring certification standards remain high.”
Placing jurisdiction over federal election system regulation in the hands of the FEC is cynical at best and destructive at worst. Atlantic magazine reported in December 2013 that the FEC was “broken” amid a flood of cases of questionable money flowing into campaigns, with feuds boiling between commissioners, and a hack attack attributed to agents of the Chinese government. Two years later the New York Times reported the FEC was incapable of curbing election abuses in the upcoming 2016 elections. On February 20, 2017 the Chairwoman of the FEC resigned. It is into the hands of this commission, now with one independent, three Republicans, one Democrat, and one vacant seat, that the House Administration Committee wants to place the future of voting machines and certification standards. The ill-advised HR 634 would place certification standards in the hands of an underfunded, understaffed (300 employees to cover 8,000 election jurisdictions in 50 states plus the District of Columbia) agency. This is conducive to yet another layer of backlogs as questions raised about voting machine security and certification standards would be added to an already debilitated commission. If the intention is to slash oversight on voting machine/system security HR 634 would certainly accomplish that goal.
We’ve been the unfortunate recipient of hacking into our elections at the hands of the Russian government (2016) a conclusion reached by 16 intelligence agencies and the intelligence community leadership, despite the President’s feckless commentary on the subject; and if security standards are unenforced then we’re at even greater risk of intrusion into what has heretofore been unavailable to Russian hackers — the actual vote tally itself.
It’s unfortunate the bill was reported out of committee last February, it would be even more lamentable if the bill were to make it to the floor for a vote; and yet
more calamitous should the bill pass the House of Representatives.
Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) can be reached at 5310 Kietzke Lane #103, Reno, Nevada 89511; 905 Railroad Street #104D, Elko, NV 89801; or 332 Cannon Building, Washington, DC 20515.
Representative Ruben Kihuen (D-NV4): 313 Cannon Building, Washington, DC 20515; 2250 North Las Vegas Blvd #500, North Las Vegas, NV 89030
Representative Jacky Rosen (D-NV3): 8872 S. Eastern Avenue #220, Las Vegas, NV 89123; 413 Cannon Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.
Representative Dina Titus (D-NV1): 2464 Rayburn Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; 495 S. Main St. 3rd floor, Las Vegas, NV 89101.