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.

Cases: 480091

Reported Deaths: 6502
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin995591576
Ramsey42700795
Dakota35723383
Anoka32968383
Washington21824253
Stearns18677200
St. Louis14644262
Scott13104104
Wright12400114
Olmsted1167988
Sherburne864873
Carver755340
Clay682284
Rice664190
Blue Earth585535
Kandiyohi576374
Crow Wing514280
Chisago493344
Otter Tail478770
Benton441090
Winona413548
Mower399231
Douglas390168
Nobles385147
Goodhue382468
Polk340762
McLeod336149
Beltrami334449
Morrison321446
Lyon311343
Itasca308245
Becker306841
Isanti303052
Carlton298344
Steele297211
Pine280316
Freeborn275923
Nicollet251241
Todd243830
Brown240037
Le Sueur230120
Mille Lacs225447
Cass217224
Waseca206317
Meeker205534
Martin186628
Wabasha18503
Roseau177617
Hubbard159740
Houston156214
Dodge15114
Renville146840
Redwood146327
Fillmore13638
Chippewa135735
Cottonwood133420
Wadena128120
Pennington125716
Faribault121216
Aitkin117633
Sibley116110
Rock115313
Watonwan11478
Kanabec106619
Pipestone100724
Yellow Medicine97517
Murray9408
Jackson92310
Swift87118
Pope7875
Marshall76615
Stevens7378
Lake72517
Clearwater71414
Lac qui Parle67916
Wilkin66410
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5093
Lincoln5022
Grant4848
Norman4648
Mahnomen4367
Unassigned43568
Kittson40421
Red Lake3534
Traverse3015
Lake of the Woods2131
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 358981

Reported Deaths: 5342
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57492544
Linn20508311
Scott18171204
Black Hawk16156286
Woodbury14835211
Johnson1371072
Dubuque13438192
Dallas1120090
Pottawattamie10678140
Story1011545
Warren549170
Clinton538983
Cerro Gordo530580
Webster514686
Marshall493372
Sioux490468
Buena Vista469436
Des Moines454059
Muscatine445989
Wapello4247107
Jasper404865
Plymouth392277
Lee372051
Marion355967
Jones293254
Henry292635
Carroll284448
Bremer276154
Crawford271235
Boone257530
Washington253344
Benton249254
Mahaska222745
Jackson219638
Dickinson215938
Tama211464
Kossuth206754
Clay192725
Hamilton191041
Delaware188739
Winneshiek186626
Fayette183832
Buchanan183128
Page181319
Hardin179538
Wright179031
Harrison178369
Cedar174722
Clayton167853
Butler165431
Floyd161939
Mills161820
Poweshiek153229
Cherokee153135
Madison152817
Hancock146429
Lyon145341
Iowa143723
Allamakee143444
Appanoose138147
Grundy138030
Jefferson137232
Winnebago136830
Calhoun133010
Cass132248
Mitchell129840
Louisa127741
Union125831
Chickasaw124513
Sac123618
Emmet120840
Shelby119433
Franklin118119
Humboldt116724
Guthrie116128
Palo Alto104021
Montgomery103636
Howard102221
Clarke99020
Keokuk97329
Unassigned9270
Monroe92128
Adair91126
Ida90732
Pocahontas85119
Davis82123
Monona81325
Greene76610
Lucas72721
Osceola69714
Worth6876
Taylor66212
Fremont5819
Decatur5709
Van Buren55918
Ringgold51516
Wayne48521
Audubon4839
Adams3264
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