Congress exploring ways to address election threats and improve security measures

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With this year’s midterm elections quickly approaching, members of Congress are reviewing election threats and security measures.

Some lawmakers say this includes foreign countries targeting elections through social media and conspiracy theories which spread misinformation.

This year, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a new election task force to address the rise in threats against election workers, officials and their families following the 2020 election season. The agency is reviewing more than 850 reported incidents.

Federal lawmakers say they want to make sure elections remain fair and secure and recently they met with election experts about potential improvements.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose told members of Congress they’ve increased security for election equipment by isolating the computer systems at county board of election offices from other government operations.

“There’s an entire separate parallel set of election infrastructure that is never connected to the internet - quite simply anything that touches a ballot can never be connected to the internet. That’s scanners, voting machines, tabulators, all of which are very strictly air gapped,” said LaRose.

With physical threats increasing, the Brennan Center for Justice believes Congress should provide grants for security improvements at the homes of election officials.

“As our Brennan Center survey showed almost 9 out of 10 election officials who had been threatened reported those threats not to federal officials but to their local law enforcement, DOJ needs to bring them to the table to help combat this serious threat,” said Elizabeth Howard, senior counsel Brennan Center for Justice.

Howard also want Congress to offer grants for safety training at election offices.