Vice President Mike Pence assured Americans on Tuesday that he acknowledges Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections, and said future attempts at meddling “would not be allowed.”
“Any attempt to interfere in our elections is an affront to our democracy and it will not be allowed,” Pence said at a Department of Homeland Security cyber security summit in New York. “The United States of America will not tolerate any foreign interference in our elections from any nation state.”
His reassurance comes after Facebook revealed it discovered at least 32 fake accounts that were orchestrating an effort to politically influence the outcome of the midterm elections with misleading information. (RELATED: Facebook Says It Has Identified A Political Influence Campaign Aimed At Creating Left-Wing ‘Resistance’)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed his concern for the integrity of upcoming elections on Tuesday at a Democratic lunch.
“The administration is not doing close to enough,” Schumer, a Democrat, told reporters, according to Reuters. “I’m hopeful we can do better and be more shielded from the Russians in 2018 than in 2016 but it’s going to take some real effort by both the government and the private sector.”
Although DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed Pence’s remarks at Tuesday’s summit, declaring that meddling would not be tolerated, Democrats complain the White House has yet to outline a plan to combat cyber-security breaches in American elections, according to reports by ABC News.
Nielsen addressed issues of cyber-security in regard to election meddling in June at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum and expressed that both DHS and state governments have taken steps to protect voter integrity in the wake of the 2016 election.
“States and localities has initial responsibilities, primary responsibilities, for the systems but DHS has been extraordinarily proactive in providing tools and resources to help enable them to combat these potential hacking,” Nielsen said.
“We have to make sure there’s integrity in the votes,” she continued. “So whatever the state localities do to protect their systems, whether they use outside vendors, or use the tools provided by DHS or have organic capability, they have to have a way of ensuring voters that their votes were counted and counted correctly. So it could be paper ballots, it could be self-automated machines, but on the back-end, no matter what happens, we have to make sure we have the integrity.”
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