May 17, 2019

Ranking Member Klobuchar Leads Landmark Election Security Bill

The Election Security Act would improve election cybersecurity and combat foreign interference in our democracy 

Over three dozen senators have cosponsored the legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, introduced major election security legislation with 38 Senate cosponsors. The Election Security Act would require backup paper ballots and provide election security grants to states for cyber improvements and audits. The Election Security Act represents the election security portions of H.R.1 and was introduced as standalone legislation in the House of Representatives last week.

“We have overwhelming evidence that foreign adversaries are interfering in our elections, but we continue to do nothing to protect the integrity of our democracy. Election security is national security, and it is past time for congress to take action,” Klobuchar said. “We must do everything in our power to protect our election systems from future attacks and this legislation will ensure those on the front-lines of administering elections are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to safeguard elections.”

The bill is cosponsored by Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and Senators Mark Warner (VA), Jack Reed (RI), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Dick Durbin (IL), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Michael (Bennet (CO), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Cory Booker (NJ), Sherrod Brown (OH), Ben Cardin (MD), Tom Carper (DE), Bob Casey (PA), Chris Coons (DE), Catherine Cortez-Masto (NV), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Kamala Harris (CA), Maggie Hassan (NH), Martin Heinrich (NM), Mazie Hirono (HI), Doug Jones (AL), Tim Kaine (VA), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (VT), Ed Markey (MA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Chris Murhpy (CT), Patty Murray (WA), Gary Peters (MI), Jackie Rosen (NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (HI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Tina Smith (MN), Debbie Stabenow (MI), John Tester (MT), Tom Udall (NM), Chris Van Hollen (MD), and Elizabeth Warren (MA).

Specifically, the Election Security Act would:

  • Require states use paper ballots.
  • Establish cybersecurity standards for voting systems vendors.
  • Fund grants for states to improve and maintain the security of their election systems, to provide cybersecurity training to election officials, and to implement post-election risk limiting audits.
  • Require the Director of National Intelligence to assess threats to election systems 180 days before an election and require the Department of Homeland Security and the Election Assistance Commission to issue recommendations to address threats.
  • Require the testing of voting systems nine months before an election.
  • Require the President to produce a national strategy for protecting democratic institutions.
  • Create a National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions.

The bill is endorsed by Public Citizen, Common Cause, Democracy 21, End Citizens United, Protect Democracy, and the Brennan Center for Justice.

Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect our elections from foreign interference. Last week, Klobuchar, Warner and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reintroduced the Honest Ads Act to help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements. 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. After the 2016 election, she secured $380 million in federal funding to help states purchase new voting machines, improve election auditing, provide cybersecurity training, and implement cybersecurity best practices to prevent future attacks. In March 2018, Klobuchar and Senator Lankford (R-OK) introduced the Secure Elections Act with Warner, Graham, Harris, Heinrich, and Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to strengthen election cybersecurity in America and protect against foreign interference in future elections. The Secure Elections Act would streamline cybersecurity information-sharing between federal intelligence entities and state election agencies; provides security clearances to state election officials; promotes the use of paper ballots and post-election audits; and provides resources for states to strengthen our election infrastructure.

In April, Klobuchar sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) urging them to work with the businesses and state election officials to establish a task force to combat the spread of misinformation. In March, she sent a letter to the country’s three largest election system vendors with questions to help inform the best way to move forward to strengthen the security of our voting machines.

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