Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Opening Statement of Ranking Member Ralph Norman at Hearing on Election Security: Voting Technology Vulnerabilities

Jun 25, 2019
Opening Statement

Thank you, Chairwoman Sherrill and Chairwoman Stevens, for convening this important hearing, and thank you to the witnesses for your testimony this morning.

We are here today to review the security of U.S. election system technologies and discuss research to ensure the security, integrity, and accessibility of America’s election systems.

Today’s hearing provides an opportunity to learn how the Federal government can support state and local governments as they work to secure elections through research, technology, standards, and voluntary guidance, without burdensome Federal mandates.

The 2000 presidential election highlighted problems with punch card and lever voting systems and brought to light new concerns about election integrity. To address these concerns, Congress enacted the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (or “HAVA”).

HAVA provided money to the states to replace antiquated voting systems, established the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (or “EAC”), and required the National Institute of Standards and Technology to provide technical support to the EAC to develop voluntary guidelines for voting systems.

My home state of South Carolina recently decided to upgrade voting systems and serves as an example of how the process should work. South Carolina officials conducted a lengthy evaluation of several options and ultimately determined that upgrading to a ballot marking device was the option that best met the needs of the state.

And this is how it should be – state and local officials figuring out what is best for their community. As Federal policymakers, we must remember that administration of elections is inherently a function of state and local governments. We should listen to our local election officials and provide the reasonable support necessary to bolster the security of election systems, and to efficiently and effectively administer elections throughout the United States.

This requires a flexible and dynamic approach to security that can be molded by jurisdictions across the country to fit their specific needs. A one-size-fits-all approach is simply impractical.

I welcome the chance to hear from state and local election officials as we consider the issue of election system security and look forward to their perspective on what role the Federal government can play in ensuring they have the information and support necessary to harden their election systems against present and future threats.

We will also hear today from representatives of academia, the private sector, and the Federal government, which provides us with the opportunity to learn more about technologies and innovations that will improve America’s election systems today, as well as the research underway that may bolster election system security in the future.

It’s hard to imagine an issue of greater importance to our democracy than the security of America’s election systems. And while I appreciate that this Committee continues to approach critical issues of national importance in a bipartisan fashion, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to highlight how partisan politics on the part of the House’s Democrat leadership has once again failed to proceed through regular order.

Specifically, I am disappointed—but quite frankly not surprised, as this is just another in a long line of political stunts—by leadership’s sudden decision to move H.R. 2722, the so-called “Securing America’s Federal Elections Act,” to the floor this week without consideration by the Science Committee, which rightly received a referral on the bill. House Democratic leadership instead chose to rush this bill to the floor in order to satisfy far-left progressives with yet another messaging bill that thankfully has no chance of being considered in the Senate.

As today’s hearing will demonstrate, the Science Committee has a crucial role to play in the consideration of any legislation that truly aims to improve the security of America’s election systems.

That being said, I look forward to a thoughtful and bipartisan discussion today of how we can improve the security of America’s election systems, now and in the future. 

Thank you again to our witnesses for being here today. And thank you madam chair for convening this important hearing.

I yield back the balance of my time.

116th Congress