September 19, 2019

Ranking Member Klobuchar Statement on Amendment to Provide $250 Million in Election Security Funding

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, released the following statement after the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment led by Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and cosponsored by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) to provide $250 million for State Election Security Grants. Klobuchar has been a leader in working to secure election security funding for states and introduced a similar amendment with Leahy last Congress.

“Today’s vote in the Appropriations Committee to approve $250 million is a sign that Republicans are finally getting the message that the federal government must do more to help state and local election officials who do not have the resources they need to protect our democracy from foreign adversaries. While this is a positive step, it is not a substitute for passing my comprehensive election security legislation, which would provide the resources necessary to modernize our election infrastructure, ensure that all citizens cast their vote on a paper ballot, require rigorous post-election audits to confirm the results of each election, and strengthen the federal response to election security threats. The House passed comprehensive election security legislation in June and it is well past time for the Senate to pass my bill.”   

After the Intelligence Community’s unanimous assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Klobuchar helped secure $380 million dollars for State Election Security Grants in the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus.

Klobuchar has introduced several pieces of legislation in the Senate to strengthen our election infrastructure and combat propaganda. In May, she introduced the Election Security Act (ESA) which now has 40 Democratic cosponsors. The legislation would require backup paper ballots, provide $1 billion in election security grants to states for cybersecurity improvements and audits, and strengthen the federal response to election security. In June, Klobuchar also introduced the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). The legislation mandates the use of paper ballots, provides grants for election infrastructure modernization and audits, and increases the security requirements for voting machines. 

Earlier this year, Klobuchar reintroduced the Honest Ads Act with Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 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. Additionally, Klobuchar introduced the Preventing Adversaries Internationally from Disbursing Advertising Dollars (PAID AD) Act with Warner which would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) to prevent foreign nationals from purchasing broadcast, cable, satellite, or digital communications naming a candidate for office at any point in time, and prevents foreign governments and foreign lobbyists from buying issue ads.

Klobuchar has also led on other election security legislation including the Global Electoral Exchange Act, the Invest in Our Democracy Act, the Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act, and the Combatting Foreign Influence Act.

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