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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: 125531

Reported Deaths: 2299
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32544966
Ramsey13430347
Dakota9321134
Anoka8154148
Stearns544336
Washington530567
Scott320934
Olmsted308929
St. Louis268963
Wright229614
Nobles216416
Clay207343
Blue Earth19717
Carver17077
Rice15819
Kandiyohi15704
Sherburne156621
Mower149113
Winona119918
Lyon9286
Crow Wing91521
Waseca9119
Chisago8792
Benton8575
Beltrami7977
Otter Tail7726
Todd7323
Steele7242
Itasca68417
Nicollet68217
Freeborn6384
Morrison6296
Douglas6123
Martin58916
Le Sueur5855
McLeod5693
Watonwan5684
Goodhue51511
Pine5110
Becker5033
Polk5024
Isanti4953
Chippewa3973
Carlton3861
Dodge3660
Mille Lacs36010
Hubbard3352
Pipestone32816
Wabasha3270
Cass3205
Meeker3113
Rock3011
Brown3003
Yellow Medicine2675
Cottonwood2640
Murray2533
Redwood25011
Fillmore2380
Sibley2383
Renville23011
Faribault2130
Roseau1990
Jackson1981
Wadena1980
Unassigned19553
Swift1921
Kanabec18910
Houston1811
Stevens1681
Lincoln1670
Pennington1651
Koochiching1624
Aitkin1562
Pope1480
Big Stone1280
Wilkin1254
Lac qui Parle1242
Lake1050
Mahnomen971
Norman970
Grant904
Marshall881
Clearwater840
Red Lake592
Traverse530
Lake of the Woods421
Kittson270
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 108620

Reported Deaths: 1562
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18087283
Woodbury685392
Johnson566030
Black Hawk526596
Linn5114127
Dubuque476354
Scott410537
Story387418
Dallas331043
Pottawattamie299844
Sioux230414
Buena Vista220412
Marshall193736
Webster172814
Plymouth154426
Wapello147562
Clinton136926
Muscatine136158
Crawford132112
Cerro Gordo126323
Des Moines12409
Warren11596
Carroll10388
Jasper103034
Henry9865
Marion93510
Tama90737
Lee8819
Wright6951
Delaware6898
Dickinson6877
Boone6819
Mahaska63723
Bremer6239
Washington61111
Harrison5868
Jackson5393
Benton5211
Lyon5177
Louisa49415
Clay4884
Hamilton4513
Winneshiek4479
Winnebago44517
Hardin4315
Poweshiek43011
Kossuth4280
Floyd41811
Jones4133
Buchanan4033
Emmet40214
Cedar3935
Iowa3848
Franklin37518
Guthrie37215
Sac3694
Cherokee3682
Page3620
Clayton3533
Shelby3511
Butler3472
Fayette3462
Madison3442
Cass3402
Mills3391
Allamakee3358
Chickasaw3271
Clarke3163
Humboldt2993
Palo Alto2912
Hancock2864
Grundy2834
Calhoun2724
Howard2519
Osceola2480
Monroe24511
Mitchell2360
Monona2311
Taylor2252
Union2164
Pocahontas2112
Appanoose2063
Jefferson2031
Lucas1896
Fremont1821
Ida1792
Greene1740
Van Buren1622
Davis1584
Montgomery1585
Adair1431
Keokuk1421
Audubon1341
Worth1300
Decatur1290
Wayne1123
Ringgold822
Adams700
Unassigned50
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