[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 163 (Monday, September 21, 2020)]
[House]
[Pages H4581-H4582]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                              {time}  1430
             DEFENDING THE INTEGRITY OF VOTING SYSTEMS ACT

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass 
the bill (S. 1321) to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit 
interference with voting systems under the Computer Fraud and Abuse 
Act.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                S. 1321

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Defending the Integrity of 
     Voting Systems Act''.

     SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON INTERFERENCE WITH VOTING SYSTEMS.

       Section 1030(e) of title 18, United States Code, is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (2)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``or'' at the end;
       (B) in subparagraph (B), by adding ``or'' at the end; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(C) that--
       ``(i) is part of a voting system; and
       ``(ii)(I) is used for the management, support, or 
     administration of a Federal election; or
       ``(II) has moved in or otherwise affects interstate or 
     foreign commerce;'';
       (2) in paragraph (11), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (3) in paragraph (12), by striking the period and inserting 
     a semicolon; and
       (4) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(13) the term `Federal election' means any election (as 
     defined in section 301(1) of the Federal Election Campaign 
     Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30101(1))) for Federal office (as 
     defined in section 301(3) of the Federal Election Campaign 
     Act of 1971 (52 U.S.C. 30101(3))); and
       ``(14) the term `voting system' has the meaning given the 
     term in section 301(b) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 
     (52 U.S.C. 21081(b)).''.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Cuellar). Pursuant to the rule, the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) and the gentleman from North 
Dakota (Mr. Armstrong) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas.


                             General Leave

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the bill under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of S. 1321, the Defending the 
Integrity of Voting Systems Act.
  We are on the verge of a significant, historic, and, really, life-or-
death Presidential Federal election. This is an important legislative 
initiative. This important and timely legislation would strengthen 
Federal criminal laws related to interference with voting systems used 
in a Federal election.
  All of us want a fair and just election system. Voting is an 
essential part of our democracy. We must ensure that our citizens have 
confidence in our electoral systems.
  As we know too well from the last Presidential election and from 
evidence that we continue to learn, our adversaries, Russians and 
others, are conducting cyber operations to interfere with our 
elections. We are well aware of the Russian bots that interfered with 
the elections in 2016. We need to do all that we can to protect voting 
machines and the related infrastructure as we head to November.
  The integrity and legitimacy of our elections is at stake. That is 
why this bill was developed: to ensure that our law concerning the 
unauthorized accessing of computer systems can also be used to 
prosecute those who hack into computer voting systems.
  Led by Senator Blumenthal and by our former colleague Mr. Ratcliffe 
in the House, this bipartisan legislation responds to a concerning 
report by the Justice Department's Cyber-Digital Task Force in 2018. 
The report concluded that current law is inadequate, given all the 
potential threats to our Nation's election security and voting systems. 
Specifically, the report identified a gap in current Federal criminal 
law relating to hacking of voting machines, especially when the 
machines are offline.
  The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is a key tool for the prosecution of 
computer crimes and the protection of property rights and computers, 
but the law is generally limited to certain devices connected to the 
internet. However, researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that ballot 
recording machines and other voting systems are susceptible to 
tampering based on physical or close access.
  In order to reduce the risk of attack, more jurisdictions are 
adopting important and recommended measures to

[[Page H4582]]

keep these voting systems off the internet. Therefore, S. 1321, this 
Senate bill, would expand the definition of the term ``protected 
computer'' under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to include computers, 
even if offline, that are a part of any voting system used in a Federal 
election.
  It is so crucial that the American people know that we have taken 
this action today to protect them and to ensure the sanctity of the 
process of voting and democracy. By expanding the definition of 
computers that are protected under current law, we will enhance the 
ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to bring appropriate charges 
in instances in which computer voting systems are hacked.
  The Senate passed this legislation with unanimous support, and it is 
now our turn to join our colleagues to adopt this important bill so 
that it may become law as quickly as possible. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, 
I ask all of my colleagues today to join me in this bipartisan, crucial 
legislation which upholds democracy and assures the sanctity of one 
vote, one person.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ARMSTRONG. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 1321, the Defending the 
Integrity of Voting Systems Act.
  This bill will protect our Nation's most sacred democratic process by 
making it a Federal crime to hack any voting system used in a Federal 
election.
  Protecting our Nation's election process from bad actors must be a 
top priority of Congress.
  In 2018, the Department of Justice's Cyber-Digital Task Force issued 
a report finding that election systems were not adequately protected by 
Federal law. This bill is a bipartisan response to address the problems 
identified by the task force.
  Bad actors who attempt to interfere in our elections must be punished 
for their actions. As someone who spends a lot of time here talking 
about where crimes fit in the State and Federal place, and oftentimes I 
think we overreact as a Federal Government and interfere in things that 
I believe should be left to the States, I think this is the opposite of 
that. An election in North Dakota can have consequences across the 
country. An election in Texas can have consequences across the country.
  This is written in a way that it deals with Federal elections and any 
machines used in those. It is a good piece of legislation. It is a 
bipartisan piece of legislation. It is based off of task force 
findings. It is narrow, and it does what we need it to do.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from the Judiciary Committee and 
on the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee for his 
leadership, and I thank the sponsors for their leadership. I thank our 
chairman and ranking member for the bipartisanship of this legislation.

  Again, Mr. Speaker, let me remind my colleagues how important this 
change is. It doesn't speak to mistakes or innocent mistakes, but what 
it does is it makes sure that a computer that is offline is subject to 
the laws of hacking that may occur when a computer is online or active.
  We know how creative those who want to undermine and distract from a 
fair, just election are. They may not just have an inclination to hack 
an active computer. So under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, this is 
to include computers, even if they are offline, that are part of a 
voting system used in a Federal election.
  Again, we understand how many people are engaged in making sure we 
have a secure and just election, and we know that this legislation 
focuses on the bad actors, and that is what we want to do.
  The integrity, Mr. Speaker, of the upcoming elections is essential to 
the foundation of our democracy. The right to vote is the most 
fundamental right of citizenship in our democracy, and this issue 
touches every voter in every community across America.
  We know that people are now voting as we stand here on the floor of 
the House. We know that mail balloting will continue or start in many 
jurisdictions. Some have already started. We know many States are 
engaged in early voting, where millions of people will be voting. This 
is an important initiative that needs to be signed immediately into 
law.
  We need to do all that we can to address current threats and to 
ensure public confidence in our elections. This legislation will help 
advance that goal. That is why I ask all of my colleagues to join me in 
supporting passage of S. 1321 today.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, S. 1321.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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