Top DHS Official: Backup Paper Ballots Will Be Necessary For 2020 Election

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Chris Krebs, the top cybersecurity official at DHS, said in August that paper ballots are a must for the 2020 election.

Paper ballots will be necessary to backup the 2020 election results, the Department of Homeland Security’s top cybersecurity official said last month, in order to ensure “auditability in the system.”

According to CNN, Chris Krebs said at a DEFCON cyber conference in August that auditability is his top priority.

"Ultimately when I look at 2020, the top priority for me is engaging as far and wide as possible, touching as many stakeholders as possible, and making sure we have auditability in the system,"Krebs said. "IT, key tenant, can't audit the system, can't look at the logs, you don't know what happened. Gotta get auditability, I'll say it, gotta have a paper ballot backup."

The cybersecurity official also urged Congress and state lawmakers to work together in preparing for the upcoming election, noting that this work must be done at a far quicker pace than is currently happening.

"I don't know where, for instance, the state of New Jersey is going to get their money to update their systems," Krebs said. "I don't know where some of these other states that have (paperless machines) without a paper trail associated with it — I don't know where they're going to get the money, but they need it."

"Their states need to step up, their legislature needs to step up," he continued. "The federal government has a role here, too. That's the conversation that's happening and has to happen with greater speed and greater aggressiveness."

In May, congressional Democrats introduced a bill, titled Protecting American Votes and Elections Act of 2019, that would “provide $500 million for new ballot-scanning machines to replace states' paperless voting machines, grant $250 million for new ballot marking devices for voters with disabilities and authorize the federal government to reimburse states for post-election audits and for designing and printing ballots.”

Despite having bipartisan support, the measure has stalled in the Senate.

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