House approves bill making hacking federal voting systems a crime

The House on Monday unanimously approved legislation that would make hacking federal voting systems a federal crime.

The Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act, approved by the Senate last year, would make hacking federal voting infrastructure a crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which is commonly used by the Justice Department to take action against malicious hackers.

The bipartisan bill was introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last year.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) described the bill on the House floor Monday as “an important legislative initiative” in advance of the November general election.

“All of us want a fair and just election system, voting is an essential part of our democracy, we must ensure that our citizens have confidence in our electoral systems,” Jackson Lee said.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) also praised the bill, describing it as a way the federal government could play a role in helping states defend against threats to elections.

“Protecting our nation’s election process from bad actors must be a top priority of Congress,” Armstrong said on the House floor Monday. “Bad actors who attempt to interfere in our elections must be punished for their actions.”