Microsoft takes on Russian meddling

Microsoft says Russian hackers targeted the US Senate and conservative think tanks.

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 8:03 AM
Updated: Aug 23, 2018 8:33 AM

A Senate committee abruptly postponed a vote Wednesday on a bill to protect elections against cyber threats after it became clear it would not have enough Republican votes to be approved and advance to the floor.

The move frustrated the bill's bipartisan authors who insisted Congress must respond to cyberattacks from Russia and other players by passing their legislation. Concerns over election security have increased as more details of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election have been made public.

"Congressional inaction is unacceptable," said Republican Sen. James Lankford from Oklahoma

Rules Chairman Roy Blunt, the Republican senator from Missouri, explained committee action was scuttled after secretaries of state from around the country raised concerns with aspects of the bill.

"We didn't have the level of Republican support we needed, and we didn't have some secretaries of state that had raised real concerns the last three days and (there was) no reason to go forward if we're not going to have enough bipartisan support to get a bill on the floor," Blunt said.

A GOP aide added that senators are working on changes to the bill to meet those policy concerns and an all-senators election security briefing planned with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI Director Chris Wray might be helpful in that regard.

The legislation, authored by Lankford and Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar would, "streamline cybersecurity information-sharing between federal intelligence entities and state election agencies; provide security clearances to state election officials; and require adequate post-election auditing procedures so each election can be double-checked and verified," according to a summary of the bill from Lankford's office.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, a Democrat who chairs the National Association of Secretaries of State, has said he is concerned that the bill's mandates for post-election audits are too stringent and amount to unfunded mandates on the states.

"It's important that any legislation passed by Congress regarding election administration includes funding for states to have the resources which are necessary to continue our work protecting the integrity of our electoral process," Condos said in a statement. "While I applaud the intent behind the Secure Elections Act, I believe that it was correct to delay a vote today as the legislation needs to be worked further."

Aware of that concern, Klobuchar was planning to offer an amendment to provide $250 million to the states to offset those costs, according to a Senate aide.

However, an aide to Condos who asked not to be identified, dismissed that figure as way too low.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a statement raised concerns about the removal of the requirement for a manual tally of paper ballots during post-election audits.

"Given the cyber threats to our voting systems, only audits of physical, paper ballots can provide the security we need and the confidence voters deserve to have in the accuracy and integrity of election results," Padilla said.

Klobuchar said she was "disappointed" action on the measure was put off and said all Democrats on the panel had planned to vote for it.

"With only 76 days before the election, with cyberattacks from Russia and other countries and criminal enterprises being revealed every day, with no national requirement for critical security protocols such as audits or backup paper ballots for our nation's election infrastructure, we must take action before the next election," she said. "To do nothing before the next election would be irresponsible."

Blunt told CNN he did not know when his committee might take the bill back up again.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37210

Reported Deaths: 1495
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Hennepin12048782
Ramsey4777222
Stearns231219
Dakota224890
Anoka2155107
Nobles16616
Olmsted107615
Washington104840
Mower9322
Rice8277
Scott6844
Clay58037
Kandiyohi5661
Wright4535
Blue Earth4422
Todd4002
Carver3611
Lyon3052
Sherburne3035
Freeborn2890
Steele2231
Watonwan2150
Benton2123
St. Louis17415
Martin1615
Nicollet15512
Cottonwood1340
Goodhue1278
Winona12015
Crow Wing10412
Pine1030
Chisago971
Otter Tail921
Le Sueur911
McLeod850
Carlton830
Dodge830
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Polk812
Chippewa761
Isanti650
Itasca6412
Waseca620
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Meeker591
Morrison591
Becker550
Jackson550
Faribault540
Murray540
Sibley532
Pennington510
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Brown312
Pipestone311
Wabasha310
Beltrami290
Rock290
Yellow Medicine290
Renville282
Fillmore270
Houston250
Swift211
Norman200
Wilkin203
Redwood170
Wadena150
Aitkin140
Big Stone140
Cass142
Kanabec141
Koochiching141
Marshall120
Grant100
Lincoln100
Pope100
Roseau100
Clearwater70
Mahnomen71
Lake60
Hubbard50
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 30173

Reported Deaths: 718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6275178
Woodbury320144
Black Hawk218058
Buena Vista170511
Linn123882
Johnson12318
Dallas122329
Marshall103519
Story7463
Pottawattamie71911
Scott70410
Wapello70230
Crawford6752
Muscatine62444
Dubuque60922
Sioux4610
Tama45829
Wright3771
Louisa36013
Jasper32117
Plymouth3134
Dickinson2592
Warren2581
Washington2349
Hamilton1871
Webster1702
Boone1421
Cerro Gordo1381
Clarke1272
Clay1270
Allamakee1264
Mahaska11517
Shelby1110
Clinton1041
Poweshiek1048
Pocahontas931
Carroll911
Bremer906
Des Moines862
Henry853
Franklin840
Cedar801
Taylor790
Emmet780
Cherokee751
Monona740
Floyd682
Marion680
Hardin650
Guthrie644
Sac630
Benton621
Jefferson580
Osceola580
Jones560
Harrison530
Humboldt531
Butler522
Buchanan511
Iowa510
Lee502
Monroe506
Hancock490
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Delaware481
Lyon400
Madison402
Clayton393
Davis391
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Winneshiek360
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Lucas304
Greene280
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