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VIDEO: Klobuchar Urges Passage of Secure Elections Act at Rules Committee Hearing on Election Security

Last week, Klobuchar and Lankford called on Congress to include key provisions of the Secure Elections Act in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 

Klobuchar: There are only 139 days until the next election. We don’t have time to wait, Congress needs to act. 

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, today urged Senate passage of her bipartisan Secure Elections Act at the first of a series of Rules Committee hearings on election security. At the hearing Klobuchar, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, and members of the Committee heard from state and local election officials about the steps they are taking to secure election infrastructure and ensure confidence in our elections. In addition to the Secure Elections Act, which Klobuchar introduced with Senator James Lankford (R-OK), the hearing included a discussion of issues related to information sharing efforts coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security and the use of $380 million in grants to states to improve their election infrastructure, which Klobuchar got included in the funding bill earlier this year. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon also testified at the hearing in support of the Secure Elections Act, and advocated for federal action to protect future elections from cyberattacks.

“Election security is national security, and as every one of our top intelligence officials has testified, our elections are under attack from foreign adversaries,” Klobuchar said. “There are only 139 days until the next election - we don’t have time to wait. As we heard from Secretaries of State across the country today, Congress needs to act and pass the Secure Elections Act so states can respond to these cyberattacks and threats in real time,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar has been leading the fight to protect our future elections from foreign interference. In March, Klobuchar and Senator James 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 upgrade election security. This bipartisan solution would bolster our election systems against future threats while protecting states’ primacy in running elections. Klobuchar and Lankford offered the Secure Elections Act as an amendment for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reauthorization.

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) 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. Klobuchar also led a group of 26 senators in calling for a full account of the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) efforts to address Russian cybersecurity threats. 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.

Video of Klobuchar speaking at the hearing is available for download here.