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>> Decide.>> The Trump administration and House Speaker Paul Ryan plan to deny a new term for a top election official. Who has been heavily involved in state efforts to bulletproof voting systems against foreign tampering. Sources tell Reuters Matthew Masterson, the current Chairman of the US Election Assistance Commission, or EAC, has been passed over for a second four year term as one of the four commissioners of the agency.
The decision comes less than ten months before the 2018 Midterm Elections, which US intelligence officials have warned could be targeted by Russia or others seeking to disrupt the process.>> There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful. And views the 2018 US Midterm Elections as a potential target for Russian influenced operations.
>> Reuters cybersecurity correspondent, Dustin Volz.>> Masterson has dedicated the past year of his chairmanship at the election since its commission to cybersecurity issues. In light of the threat posed by Russia and potentially others. Everybody I have spoken with said that his departure is going to be a serious blow to those efforts.
>> It was not clear whether it was the White House or Ryan who made the decision to replace Masterson or why. Masterson declined to comment, but his colleagues told Reuters he wanted to stay.>> It's worth noting that the Election Assistance Commission has at times been a target of Republicans who feel that it outlived its usefulness.
It was originally set up in 2002 after the Florida recount disaster following the 2000 election. Republicans have long said this agency represents federal overreach, a federal attempt to take over state elections.>> And add to this partisan disagreement, the hot button issue of how to deal with Russia.
Which is accused of interfering in the 2016 election to sow chaos and help promote Donald Trump. Who has since done very little to prevent Russia from coming back in 2018.>> There's yet been any specific election security measure passed through Congress. Democrats have called for an increase in funding for the states to secure their elections, while Republicans have not done that.
Republicans in the House actually have not even held hearings on the issue, something that Democrats continue to point out. So this is certainly a partisan issue on Capitol Hill and in Washington.>> He'll stay on as Commissioner until his replacement is formally nominated and confirmed by the Senate.