Harley Rouda

House votes to pass Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act of 2019

This afternoon Rep. Harley Rouda (CA-48) voted to pass H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act of 2019. The bill implements commonsense reforms to ensure the integrity of elections, including by protecting American elections from cybersecurity threats. Two Rouda-authored provisions, originally amendments to H.R. 1, the For the People Act, were included in the original text of the bill.

Said Rouda, “The majority of my Republican colleagues somehow forgot that our country was attacked by the Russian Government during the 2016 elections. In the long run, no party has anything to gain by letting such interference happen again – if voters lose confidence in the integrity of our elections, the whole American experiment is in danger of failing. This bill makes sure American voters are in the driver’s seat of our democracy, that their vote counts, and their voices are heard.

“Understanding that paper ballots are currently the safest and most secure way for Americans to cast their vote, my provisions in the bill would ensure that we both study the most effective ballot design, and use recycled paper ballots to reduce the impact of our elections on the environment. The ballot design study would also help make voting simple and straightforward for future electronic and digital ballots.”

The Rouda provisions, sections 105 and 106, would

  • Sec. 105: require paper ballots to be printed on recycled paper manufactured in the United States
  • Sec. 106: require the Election Assistance Commission to conduct a study of the best ways to design ballots used in elections for public office, including paper ballots and electronic or digital ballots, to minimize confusion and user errors.

This bill:

  • Authorizes $600 million in Voting System Security Improvement Grants for states to modernize and secure their election infrastructure. (The initial $600 million is being appropriated by the FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which the House passed today.)
  • Authorizes $175 million every two years to states to maintain the state’s election infrastructure.
  • Mandates that voting systems use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots – a widely agreed upon reform to protect our elections from manipulation.
  • Requires states to conduct post-election risk-limiting audits to ensure election integrity; whether it is a programming error or a cyber-attack, these audits help detect inaccuracies.
  • Sets strict cybersecurity standards for both election technology vendors and for voting systems.
  • Fosters accountability for election technology vendors, creating a “qualified election infrastructure vendor” designation.
  • Bans Internet accessibility or connectivity for devices on which ballots are marked or counted.
  • Requires voting machines to be manufactured in the United States.

This article was released by the Office of Representative Harley Rouda.