Microsoft takes on Russian meddling

Microsoft says Russian hackers targeted the US Senate and conservative think tanks.

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 8:21 AM
Updated: Aug 23, 2018 8:33 AM

A Senate committee abruptly postponed a vote Wednesday on a bill to protect elections against cyber threats after it became clear it would not have enough Republican votes to be approved and advance to the floor.

The move frustrated the bill's bipartisan authors who insisted Congress must respond to cyberattacks from Russia and other players by passing their legislation. Concerns over election security have increased as more details of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election have been made public.

"Congressional inaction is unacceptable," said Republican Sen. James Lankford from Oklahoma

Rules Chairman Roy Blunt, the Republican senator from Missouri, explained committee action was scuttled after secretaries of state from around the country raised concerns with aspects of the bill.

"We didn't have the level of Republican support we needed, and we didn't have some secretaries of state that had raised real concerns the last three days and (there was) no reason to go forward if we're not going to have enough bipartisan support to get a bill on the floor," Blunt said.

A GOP aide added that senators are working on changes to the bill to meet those policy concerns and an all-senators election security briefing planned with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI Director Chris Wray might be helpful in that regard.

The legislation, authored by Lankford and Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar would, "streamline cybersecurity information-sharing between federal intelligence entities and state election agencies; provide security clearances to state election officials; and require adequate post-election auditing procedures so each election can be double-checked and verified," according to a summary of the bill from Lankford's office.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, a Democrat who chairs the National Association of Secretaries of State, has said he is concerned that the bill's mandates for post-election audits are too stringent and amount to unfunded mandates on the states.

"It's important that any legislation passed by Congress regarding election administration includes funding for states to have the resources which are necessary to continue our work protecting the integrity of our electoral process," Condos said in a statement. "While I applaud the intent behind the Secure Elections Act, I believe that it was correct to delay a vote today as the legislation needs to be worked further."

Aware of that concern, Klobuchar was planning to offer an amendment to provide $250 million to the states to offset those costs, according to a Senate aide.

However, an aide to Condos who asked not to be identified, dismissed that figure as way too low.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a statement raised concerns about the removal of the requirement for a manual tally of paper ballots during post-election audits.

"Given the cyber threats to our voting systems, only audits of physical, paper ballots can provide the security we need and the confidence voters deserve to have in the accuracy and integrity of election results," Padilla said.

Klobuchar said she was "disappointed" action on the measure was put off and said all Democrats on the panel had planned to vote for it.

"With only 76 days before the election, with cyberattacks from Russia and other countries and criminal enterprises being revealed every day, with no national requirement for critical security protocols such as audits or backup paper ballots for our nation's election infrastructure, we must take action before the next election," she said. "To do nothing before the next election would be irresponsible."

Blunt told CNN he did not know when his committee might take the bill back up again.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115763

Reported Deaths: 3263
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 158701

Reported Deaths: 2680
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23292377
Mobile16916315
Tuscaloosa10345140
Montgomery10250197
Madison935096
Shelby739063
Baldwin665869
Lee654665
Calhoun459961
Marshall439550
Etowah428551
Houston417034
Morgan416435
DeKalb342629
Elmore320853
St. Clair295542
Limestone287230
Walker279492
Talladega266435
Cullman248024
Lauderdale229442
Jackson215915
Autauga205931
Franklin205531
Colbert202132
Russell19493
Blount193225
Chilton188432
Dallas186627
Coffee177111
Dale176351
Covington174729
Escambia172730
Clarke135217
Chambers135044
Pike134113
Tallapoosa132987
Marion108129
Barbour10339
Marengo101922
Butler101140
Winston92913
Geneva9067
Lawrence85832
Pickens85218
Bibb84014
Randolph82716
Hale76830
Washington74912
Clay74412
Cherokee73814
Henry7176
Lowndes71328
Bullock64917
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60830
Perry5926
Fayette57713
Cleburne5698
Wilcox56812
Conecuh56113
Macon53620
Lamar4965
Sumter47221
Choctaw39212
Greene34216
Coosa2043
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 59°
Columbus
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 61°
Oxford
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather