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Sen. Johnson bill would require new election equipment be made in the USA

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson on Thursday introduced legislation to require all new electronic voting machines purchased by Michigan election officials be made in the U.S.

“To ensure the integrity of our democracy, we must ensure that the voting systems we use are secure and protected,” said Johnson, R-Holly, who previously served as Michigan secretary of state. “The threat of foreign-made technology has been a topic of national conversation for several years, with both the Trump and Biden administrations recognizing the potential security risks of using foreign technology in official services. Clearly, our elections are worthy of protection from these risks.

“Requiring new electronic voting machines to be made in America not only greatly reduces these potential vulnerabilities but it also supports American jobs.”

Senate Bill 884 would require any new electronic voting system purchased in the state on or after March 1, 2022 be manufactured in the United States. The bill would also prohibit an electronic voting system manufactured outside the U.S. from being approved for use in Michigan by the Board of State Canvassers after this date. The bill would not prohibit the repair, maintenance or acquisition of parts for the proper operation of existing systems acquired and approved prior to March 1, 2022.

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 Biden signed the Secure Equipment Act, requiring the Federal Communications Commission to establish rules stating it will no longer review or approve any authorization application for equipment that is on the list of covered communications equipment or services — meaning equipment from Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies cannot be used in U.S. telecom networks. This legislation was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate and by a vote of 420-4 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

SB 884 has been referred to the Senate Elections Committee for consideration.

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