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State of Texas
Texas State Representative Ron Reynolds
News Release
Thursday, August 03, 2017

Reynolds Files HB 342 on Cyber-Security Protections for Our Elections

American elections only recently seemed impenetrable: too many different systems, different jurisdictions and different machines, online and offline, to hack. But confidence in the system's invulnerability is eroding after national security officials revealed that during the 2016 presidential race Russian hackers attempted to infiltrate election systems in 21 states, Texas being one of them.

Ignoring the role of cyber-security in politics and government may lead to the death of democracy for the citizens of our nation. Unfortunately, digital evidence shows that it is easy for cyber criminals to create false and deceptive content, therefore making it very difficult to tackle cyber- attacks since one cannot easily identify the perpetrators.

During the regular session the legislature passed HB 8 which required the Secretary of State to assess and generate a report on cyber-security threats on Texas voting systems. Since then, we had confirmation that there was a cyber-security election threat from Russian hackers in Dallas County. Bexar, Harris and Travis counties also had reported threats. I filed HB 342 and the bill was heard last week in the House Elections Committee. HB 342 will add mail ballot voting to the study being conducted by the Secretary of State. It also moves up the report due date to September 1, 2018, so that changes can be made before the next general election. In addition, the bill requires counties to report cyber-attacks within 48 hours of the incident.

Cyber security threat is real. We need to have a clear understanding of the vulnerability of our election system so that we can develop policies and a plan to secure our elections. The Governor needs to be focusing on legislation that protects our democracy and not discriminatory policies. I continue to stand with my colleagues as we fight for common-sense reforms that will benefit all Texans. Securing our elections and making sure that every vote counts is a top priority.

Ron Reynolds represents Texas House District 27, which encompasses communities of Fort Bend County. Reynolds is a member of the House Committee on Elections and Environmental Regulations Committee.

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