“Voting is a sacred activity for Americans, and we must protect it from both internal and external threats to ensure every citizen’s vote counts. Republicans and Democrats can agree on this point, particularly because each of us sitting on this dais is the beneficiary of free and fair elections.”

WASHINGTON —  Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement at today’s hearing, “Securing America’s Elections.”

Ranking Member Collins: I’m glad the chairman agreed to hold this hearing today. Election security is an issue the American people expect Congress to address. Voting is a sacred activity for Americans, and we must protect it from both internal and external threats to ensure every citizen’s vote counts. Republicans and Democrats can agree on this point, particularly because each of us sitting on this dais is the beneficiary of free and fair elections.

The Trump Administration devoted significant resources toward securing the 2018 congressional midterm elections, and it showed. The Trump Administration prioritized securing federal elections from tampering, and it did so with a multi-agency effort to disseminates intelligence and work together. Because of these efforts – which succeeded despite the intent of our foreign adversaries – our elections remain secure, we’ve deterred criminals and international threats and protected the integrity of every vote.

Today, we hope to hear additional methods, both technological and otherwise, for securing our nation’s election infrastructure. We have witnesses who can address the cross-section of technology with the security of our voting mechanisms. I especially look forward to hearing about innovation because it helps us anticipate wrongdoers’ attempts to disrupt our nation’s freedoms. For this reason, I hope we take an all-options-on-the-table approach when considering how best to secure elections systems.

Technologists may not always agree on what’s the best technology to use today, but we should not dismiss technologies that show promise for tomorrow.

While elections in this country are — as they should be — predominantly within each individual state’s control, the federal government is positioned to assist financially and through its national security expertise. We must be careful, though, to avoid inserting the federal leviathan too far into governing what has historically and constitutionally been the responsibility of the states. It’s a cautionary note to emphasize that some ideas related to election security might appear reasonable, but, at further glance, would disrupt our successful system of assigning certain functions to the states and others to the federal government.

Republicans have offered multiple common sense election security bills that would effectively secure elections and punish those who attempt to hack into them. We need the majority to bring these bills up for votes, or we will miss a prime opportunity to protect our democracy and address an issue our constituents sent us here to fix.

I think this bipartisan approach is possible. I know we all want to ensure that every voting American has confidence that their vote is safe from manipulation.

In 2005, when Iraqis were able to vote freely, excitement flowed throughout the country. People held up purple ink-stained fingers in a show of pride for regaining such an important freedom. That memory serves to remind us today that, despite policy differences, we have a duty to assure the American people we have done everything possible to secure this foundational right.

I look forward to hearing from the panel today on methods to secure future national, state and local elections from malfeasance and protect our freedoms.