FULL AUDIO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Live Telephone Townhall on Bill to Secure U.S. Elections

March 21, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC—More than 4,400 Hawaiʻi residents tuned in to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s live telephone townhall Monday evening focused on her Securing America’s Elections Act (H.R.5147), which would require the use of paper ballots or voter-verified paper backups in federal elections. The congresswoman and guests Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause, and Brian Fox, Board Member of the National Association of Voting Officials, answered questions on:

  • The current vulnerabilities of U.S. federal elections and actions that can be taken to better protect election systems from hackers;
  • How open source elections software works;
  • Expanding voting access in Hawaiʻi and nationwide, including bills like the Weekend Voting Act and Automatic Voter Registration Act that Rep. Gabbard has cosponsored;
  • Emergency funding included in the Securing America’s Elections Act to update states’ elections systems to include paper ballots/records before the 2018 elections;
  • The negative impact of weak election security on voter turnout; and more.

Click here to listen to the full audio recording of this event

The Congresswoman also provided a legislative update, including constituent services, actions she’s taken to respond to and address Hawaiʻi’s false missile alert, strengthen school safety in Hawaiʻi and nationwide, assist Hawaiʻi families with federal agency casework, and more.  

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said: “Hawaiʻi is one of just 15 states in the country that are currently protected from hackers by having secure paper records of each vote cast. Our telephone townhall was an opportunity to discuss what has worked in Hawaiʻi, and how systems like that can be implemented nationwide through my Securing America’s Elections Act. We also discussed important initiatives at both the state and federal level to expand voting access, like weekend voting, automatic voter registration, same day voter registration, and more. The need to protect the integrity of our elections and every vote cast is urgent and must be addressed before the 2018 elections and beyond.” 

Brian Fox, Board Member of the National Association of Voting Officials, said, "We are pleased to see Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard leading the country toward safe and secure election systems. The open source software language in her legislation, in addition to the necessary paper ballot component, will give appropriate security direction to the nation's election officials. Congresswoman Gabbard is appreciated as a pioneer advocating the science of protecting our democracy."

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Securing America’s Elections Act would ensure an auditable and secure record of every American’s vote by:

  • Requiring the use of voter-verified paper ballots or a paper ballot backup in federal elections that if needed, can be audited and counted by hand, optical scanner, or similar device.  
  • Allowing voters to verify their ballot and correct any errors before their permanent paper ballot is preserved for official records.  
  • Establishing voter-verified paper ballots as the correct record of the total votes cast, in the event of any inconsistencies or irregularities between electronic and paper vote tallies.
  • Authorizing emergency funding for states to meet the costs of ensuring paper ballots/paper ballot backups by the 2018 federal elections.
  • Studying the effectiveness and security of using open-source electronic voting software, which could potentially provide additional security and lower costs of upgrading our nation’s election infrastructure.

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