July 27, 2018

Klobuchar: With the Clock Ticking Down to Election Day, We Must Secure Our Democracy Now

This weekend marks 100 days until the midterm elections

WASHINGTON- With this weekend marking 100 days until the 2018 midterm elections, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, called for Congress to take immediate action to prevent foreign interference in our elections. Intelligence officials have confirmed that the Russian government and foreign adversaries interfered in the 2016 elections and are continuing to target our election infrastructure, yet state and local election officials remain unprepared to combat such attacks. 

“We know Russia directly and intentionally interfered in the 2016 elections. We know they are continuing to target our democracy. And we know that our state and local election officials are not fully prepared to prevent this kind of foreign interference from happening again. The midterm elections are 100 days away--we can’t sit back and allow these attacks to go on.”

“There are bipartisan solutions on the table that Congress should pass. My bipartisan Secure Elections Act would strengthen our election cybersecurity and protect against foreign interference in our election systems. I also introduced the bipartisan Honest Ads Act, which would improve the transparency of online political advertisements and help prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections.”

“The integrity of an election system is the cornerstone of any free democracy. The freedom to choose our leaders without the influence of foreign adversaries is something that Americans have fought and died for. With the clock ticking down to Election Day, now is the time to act. Our democracy depends on it.”

Klobuchar has been leading the fight to protect our future elections from foreign interference. In March, Klobuchar and Senator Lankford (R-OK) introduced the Secure Elections Act with Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to strengthen election cybersecurity in America and protect against foreign interference in future elections. The Secure Elections Act streamlines cybersecurity information-sharing between federal intelligence entities and state election agencies; provides security clearances to state election officials; and provides resources for states to strengthen our election infrastructure. This bipartisan solution would bolster our election systems against future threats while protecting states’ primacy in running elections.

Recently, the Secure Elections Act has been gaining support in Congress. Last week, Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Cyber Subcommittee, and Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Angus King (I-ME) all joined the bill.

In October, Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, to help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements. Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.

Klobuchar and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, have also introduced the bipartisan Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act to strengthen disclosure by requiring federal campaigns to use existing credit card verification protocols to help verify that online credit card donations come from U.S. sources. Last June, Klobuchar introduced the Helping State and Local Governments Prevent Cyber Attacks Act to help combat foreign interference by providing state and local governments with the information and resources they need to keep our elections secure and improve voter confidence.

In addition, Klobuchar has led Senate Rules Committee Democrats in a call for hearings and briefings on foreign attempts to hack into U.S. election systems and improving cybersecurity. On Friday, she also led a letter urging National Security Advisor John Bolton to hold the Russian government accountable for attacking our elections, improve interagency coordination to secure our elections, and support state and local election officials before a National Security Council (NSC) meeting on election security. In January 2017, Klobuchar introduced legislation with four other senators to create an independent, nonpartisan commission to comprehensively investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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