Senators want new laws after a Russian oligarch bought Maryland’s elections vendor
Maryland officials want lawmakers to support language that would require vendors of elections services to disclose when a foreign actor takes control of one of their companies.
In July, the FBI alerted Maryland officials that a digital company that provides election services in the state had been purchased by a parent company connected to a Russian oligarch who’s reportedly close to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Now, Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are asking the Senate Rules Committee to support an amendment that would require vendors of election services to inform lawmakers when a foreign actor takes ownership of one of their companies.
The amendment would become part of the Secure Elections Act, a bipartisan measure to improve election infrastructure and protocols that the Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to consider on Wednesday.
“As the Rules Committee prepares to mark up the Secure Elections Act, we respectfully request that you sponsor an amendment requiring that an election infrastructure vendor submit a report to the Chair of the [Election Assistance Commission] and the Secretary of [the Department of Homeland Security] identifying any foreign national that directly or indirectly owns or controls the vendor, as well as any material change in ownership resulting in ownership or control by a foreign national,” Cardin and Van Hollen wrote on Monday.
The Maryland company, ByteGrid LLC, hosts the online voter registration system, candidacy and election management system, online ballot delivery system and unofficial election night results website, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. In 2015, Russian investors, including the reportedly Putin-connected billionaire Vladimir Potanin, purchased an ownership stake in ByteGrid, unbeknown to state lawmakers at the time.
ByteGrid said the move hasn’t affected company operations.
“ByteGrid’s investors have no involvement or control in company operations,” the company said in a statement. “We stand by our commitment to security in everything we do, and do not share information about who our customers are and what we do for them.”
Still, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said Maryland officials decided it was “imperative that our constituents know that a Russian oligarch has purchased our election machinery, and we need to be on top of it.”
Miller and Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch have also called for a review of the state’s election systems.
“When the FBI comes in and tells you that they have information that there might be Russian money involved in the vendor you have for your electoral system, you take notice,” Busch told CNN in July.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap
- The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
- This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
- Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.