Washington, D.C. – On Friday, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) introduced two bills to strengthen cybersecurity on federal, state, and local campaigns. The Securing and Heightening the Integrity of our Elections and Lawful Democracy (SHIELD) Act would coordinate cybersecurity efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and campaign committees. The E-Security Fellows Act would direct the Election Assistance Commission to establish an E-Fellows Program to train campaign staff on cybersecurity.
“Growing cybersecurity threats from Russia and other foreign nations pose serious risks to the integrity of our elections,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “As a Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I have heard first hand from intelligence officials who warn that unless we develop measures to defend our elections against cyberattacks, our election infrastructure will remain vulnerable. Here in Congress, we have a responsibility to defend our democracy by strengthening cybersecurity in our elections. Cyberattacks are a threat to our campaigns and cybersecurity is a matter of national security that we cannot afford to ignore.”
The SHIELD Act would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 in order to coordinate cybersecurity efforts between DHS and campaign committees. Under this legislation, DHS would develop a program to update computer security at political campaign committees, share information on cybersecurity risks with such committees, and provide guest lecturer programs with computer security experts to instruct campaign professionals. The SHIELD Act also establishes an Election Security Board of Advisors to make recommendations about securing elections against future cybersecurity threats.
The E-Security Fellows Act would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to direct the Election Assistance Commission to establish an E-Fellows Program, training campaign staff on cybersecurity best practices, including how to prevent and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents targeting political campaigns.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is responsible for the House investigation of Russia’s attack on American elections in 2016. As a Member of the Committee, Rep. Sewell has heard testimony from high-ranking intelligence officials who agree that another cyberattack by Russia is imminent should the United States fail to act.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.