Conservative Letter to Congress 12.21

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December 1, 2021 Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader McCarthy: As the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, the SolarWinds hack, and other high-profile recent events demonstrate, the threat of malicious cyber interference now represents a serious challenge to America’s national security and economic prosperity. Increasingly, this threat represents a challenge to our ability to conduct secure elections. In light of these recent cyberattacks, we urge you to support robust and consistent assistance to state and local governments to ensure the integrity of our nation’s election infrastructure. Leading computer science experts agree that hacking threats against US voting systems are growing and that increasingly out-of-date elections infrastructure make for relatively easy targets. There’s widespread and growing recognition that computerized voting machines that do not produce a paper trail should finally be banned. Recent academic studies have found major vulnerabilities in touch screens, optical scanner systems and registration databases that could allow even lower-tier hackers to cast doubt on the validity of election results. Surveys of hundreds of election officials in dozens of states found that outright majorities are in need of new equipment. Public reports from the Director of National Intelligence and other agencies during the 2020 election season revealed that risks could come from Russia, Iran, China or North Korea. Given the degree of the vulnerabilities, it is conceivable that threats could also come from non-state actors, including radical domestic groups. There is growing bipartisan consensus that supports commonsense solutions to this challenge, including voter-verified paper ballots and audits. There is also strong support for better federal oversight of voting machine vendors and for strictly keeping voting and tabulation infrastructure off of the Internet. In recent years, both Republicans and Democrats have introduced legislation with common priorities: upgrade security standards, ensure the use of paper ballots that provide meaningful records, and mainstream the use of low-cost audits to verify results. Congress has passed some meaningful election security reforms in recent years, including funding support. However, in the 117th Congress, there’s been little such discussion of how to pass practical election security reforms. Given strong concern about election security among Republicans, it’s only sensible that GOP leaders champion paper ballots and post-election audits as a proven pathway to securing elections. We believe it is vital to limit federal expenditures and minimize Washington’s reach over state and local policymaking prerogatives. However, the federal government has a clear role to play in ensuring the safety and integrity of our elections. We cannot and should not expect local

elections administrators to go toe-to-toe with the offensive cyber-capabilities of foreign militaries. Hardening our election infrastructure is fiscally responsible. Leading calculations show that the cost of replacing all paperless voting machines in the United States amounts to approximately the cost of just one F-22 fighter aircraft. Supporting cost-effective regular audits (RLAs) would cost little more. Republican-led legislation in recent Congresses included full budget offsets, ensuring no additional deficit spending. Just as the defense against other cybersecurity threats requires continuous investment, Congress should plan long-term assistance to state and local governments. At a time when threats are growing, systems are aging, and public confidence in the voting process is falling to record lows, it’s only reasonable that lawmakers should act on this issue. Ultimately, Americans deserve to know that their elections are being conducted fairly and honestly, with each vote counted as cast. As recent events indicate, malicious hackers pose an enormous threat to our aging election infrastructure. We urge Congress to provide fiscally responsible, long-term assistance to state and local governments that protects the integrity of our nation’s elections. Sincerely, Grover Norquist President, Americans for Tax Reform

Saul Anuzis President, 60 Plus Association

Jim Martin Chairman and Founder, 60 Plus Association

Brett Healy President, Maciver Institute

Matthew Germer Fellow, Governance Program, R Street Institute

Derrick Hollie President, Reaching America

Adam Brandon President, FreedomWorks

Tom Hebert Executive Director, Open Competition Center

Dr. J. Robert McClure President and CEO, The James Madison Institute

Bobbie Patray President, Eagle Forum Tennessee