Representatives Meadows, Langevin Release PAPER Act


WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced the Protecting the American Process for Election Results (PAPER) Act—a bill that will provide assistance to states to strengthen the cybersecurity of their elections. The bill is a House companion to the Klobuchar-Graham amendment to the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which is currently being debated.

The PAPER ACT is designed to protect the integrity of American elections by solidifying defenses against cyber intrusions and by recommending additional record keeping to strengthen audits of elections. Broadly, the bill directs the Election Assistance Commission, after consulting with state and federal stakeholders, to formulate Security Risk and Vulnerability Assessment recommendations for states to harden their cybersecurity and develop post-election auditing standards to ensure elections have not been manipulated. States that adhere to such guidelines will be eligible to receive federal Election Technology Improvement Grants—funding that allows for needed system and security updates.

Furthermore, the bill will require voting machines purchased with federal funds to pair votes cast electronically with a paper record, visible to the voter—and recommends that each federal election be followed by a manual audit of a random sample of such paper records, prior to certification of the election result. Paper ballots provide for additional transparency and allow for quick discovery of voting machines that have been compromised in some way.

“The American people rely on our election results to be trustworthy, accountable, and safe from cyber interference—both foreign and domestic,” Rep. Meadows said. “The integrity of our elections is fundamental to who we are as a nation, and the PAPER Act would be a major step forward in securing our election process, updating the security of our voter logs, and allowing for efficient and effective audits of election results. I thank my colleagues Rep. Langevin and Sen. Klobuchar for their efforts and I look forward to continuing to work with them on this important initiative.”

“As a former Rhode Island Secretary of State, I have a thorough understanding of the challenges – including a lack of sufficient resources – faced by state and local election officials. The PAPER Act provides federal assistance to the people on the front lines to ensure that the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote, is not impinged by foreign powers or other malicious cyber actors,” said Congressman Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. “While I strongly support the designation of elections as critical infrastructure, we need to back this clear statement of the threat with action. The open processes to develop cybersecurity standards set forth in the PAPER Act and the commitment to paper ballots backed with risk-limiting audits will ensure U.S. elections remain free and fair and the American people are confident in their integrity. I commend Representative Meadows and Senators Klobuchar and Graham for their focus on securing our elections, and I hope that the Senate votes today to advance this important legislation.”

“According to the Department of Homeland Security, Russian hackers attempted to break into at least 21 states’ election systems in 2016 and U.S. national security officials have been sounding the alarm that our voting systems will continue to be a target in the future,” Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said. “In order to safeguard future elections, state and local officials must have the tools and resources they need to prevent hacks, and safeguard election infrastructure from foreign interference. I am proud of the bipartisan legislation we have introduced and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect our democracy from future attacks.”