Klobuchar and Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon highlighted the critical need for election security with the threat of foreign entities interfering in elections still present
Klobuchar is the Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections; Klobuchar has secured major funding and led several bills to further improve election security
MINNEAPOLIS – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, spoke today about protecting our election infrastructure at an event with Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. Klobuchar has led the push for more resources for states’ election security through backup paper ballots and post-election audits to help secure, protect, and improve states’ election infrastructure against future attacks by foreign adversaries. Klobuchar has introduced several pieces of legislation in the Senate to strengthen our election infrastructure and combat propaganda. 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. With assistance from Klobuchar, Simon secured $6.6 million for federal election funds to aid in defending Minnesota’s election infrastructure from foreign entities.
“As the Ranking Member of the Rules Committee in the Senate, I worked to secure those election security grants, and it’s long overdue that our state have access to help keep our elections safe and secure. Why? Russia invaded our democracy. They didn’t use bombs, jets, or tanks. Instead, they planned a sophisticated cyber mission to undermine the foundation of our democratic system.
“And President Trump’s own law enforcement and intelligence officials have confirmed that Russia is actively working to attack our democracy again. In the words of former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Russia is ‘emboldened.’
“We have a common set of facts about what happened, and we know that there is a continued threat against our democracy. What we need to do now is address these facts with a common purpose—to protect our democracy and make sure our election systems are resilient against future attacks.
“While our intelligence officials continue to sound the alarm that our elections remain a target—the Administration and Mitch McConnell have blocked my bills on election security, refusing to even bring them to a vote. Our next elections are fewer than 400 days away – it is unacceptable that we haven’t passed comprehensive election security reform.”
Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect our elections from foreign interference and secure our election infrastructure. In May, she introduced the Election Security Act (ESA) which now has 40 cosponsors. Her bills would require backup paper ballots, provide $1 billion in election security grants to states for cybersecurity improvements and audits, strengthen the federal response to election security interference, and establish accountability measures for election technology vendors.
Earlier this year, Klobuchar reintroduced the Honest Ads Act with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 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 has also led on other election security legislation including the Combatting Foreign Influence Act, Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act, Invest in Our Democracy Act, and Global Electoral Exchange Act.
Klobuchar has sent numerous letters urging departments, agencies, and private companies to improve election security. In August, she sent a letter with Senator Wyden (D-OR) to the FBI asking them to clarify the steps they’ve taken to investigate problems with VR Systems, an election systems vendor that has undergone speculations of hacking in the 2016 election. In April, she led a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI, urging them to establish a task force combining the efforts of social media platforms, local election officials, and also reporters and independent researchers, in finding and stopping disinformation and misinformation campaigns. In March, Klobuchar sent a letter to the three biggest voting machine companies in the U.S. asking tough questions about election security. Klobuchar has also sent numerous letters to the DHS and its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), urging them to prioritize election security measures.