Johnson sponsors election equipment security bill

Johnson sponsors election equipment security bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson on Wednesday reintroduced legislation to make sure Michigan’s electronic voting systems don’t use equipment or parts made by foreign technology companies deemed a national security risk by the U.S. government.

“This measure is about following the lead of both the Trump and Biden administrations to ensure our voting machines are secure and protected from foreign influence and cybercriminals,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “This bill makes similar protections for our electronic voting systems that leaders in both parties have taken to protect our communications services from the growing threat of foreign-made technology.

“As a former Michigan secretary of state and county clerk, I understand these potential security risks and hope we can find common ground on this proactive approach to defending our elections.”

In 2019, the Trump administration barred U.S. firms from using the Chinese technology company Huawei’s technology or providing technology to the company, deeming it a national security risk.

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Secure Equipment Act, requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish rules stating it will no longer approve any authorization for equipment on the list of covered communications equipment or services — meaning equipment from Huawei, ZTE, and several other companies cannot be used in U.S. telecom networks.

Senate Bill 155 is a reintroduction of SB 884, which was passed by the Senate in 2022 but wasn’t taken up by the House of Representatives. It would apply the same standards in the federal Secure Equipment Act to all new electronic voting machines purchased or approved by election officials in Michigan.

The bill prohibits any electronic voting system purchased in Michigan on or after July 1, 2023 from including any parts or equipment produced or provided by a company with any communications equipment or services determined to represent a national security concern by the FCC. The Board of State Canvassers would also be prohibited from approving such systems for use.

SB 155 would not prohibit the repair, maintenance or acquisition of parts for the proper operation of existing systems acquired and approved prior to July 1, 2023.


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