WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration with oversight over federal elections, requested an update from the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) on its efforts to support state and local election officials with administering the 2022 midterm elections.
“As election officials administer the 2022 primary elections and prepare for the 2022 general election, we have heard about a number of challenges that they face. The EAC plays a critical role in ensuring that election officials have the necessary information and resources to administer secure and successful elections, and it is important for the EAC to be prepared to support election officials as they work to address these obstacles,” the senators wrote.
Based on issues raised by state and local election officials, the senators highlighted the need for the EAC to work with state and local election officials as they strengthen the cybersecurity of election systems, counter election-related disinformation campaigns, protect election officials against threats, and reliably procure election supplies including ballot paper and envelopes.
In November, Klobuchar and Blunt urged the EAC to provide state and local officials with information and guidance as they combat threats against election workers and administrators. In October, the senators held a Rules Committee hearing focused on the increasing threats directed at election officials and the ability of states and local governments to retain election officials and recruit workers to administer future elections.
The full letter is available HERE and below:
We write to request information about the support provided by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to state and local governments in the administration of federal elections during the 2022 election cycle. As election officials administer the 2022 primary elections and prepare for the 2022 general election, we have heard about a number of challenges that they face. The EAC plays a critical role in ensuring that election officials have the necessary information and resources to administer secure and successful elections, and it is important for the EAC to be prepared to support election officials as they work to address these obstacles.
First, bolstering the cybersecurity of election systems remains a key challenge for state and local officials. The intelligence community has continued to warn that our elections remain a target for foreign adversaries seeking to compromise our election systems and conduct influence campaigns. While state and local election officials have made significant progress in improving election cybersecurity in recent years, challenges remain as many states are planning to upgrade their voter registration databases, update election software, and conduct vulnerability assessments ahead of the general election.
Second, election officials are continuing to institute measures to counter election-related misinformation and disinformation to help ensure voters understand and trust the election process. Effective voter education materials can serve as a constructive way not only to counter misinformation about voting and elections but to provide voters with accurate information so that they can better understand and fully participate in the election process.
Third, as we highlighted in a letter to you in November 2021, election officials continue to experience threats and abusive conduct. At a Rules Committee hearing last October, Kentucky’s Secretary of State warned that if we do not act, state and local governments will struggle to retain or recruit people to administer future elections.
Finally, in addition to concerns regarding election worker and volunteer recruitment, we have heard that some election officials are facing challenges in procuring election supplies like ballot paper and envelopes. Recently, the Election Infrastructure Subsector Coordinating Council established a working group to analyze reports of potential election supply shortages, including paper supplies, and make recommendations to vendors and election officials on ways to mitigate any challenges.
To ensure the EAC is successfully fulfilling its mission to assist state and local election officials with the challenges they are facing during this year’s election cycle, we request that you provide us with answers to the questions below by April 22, 2022:
- How is the EAC working with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to assist election officials in strengthening election cybersecurity and countering election-related misinformation and disinformation? What other efforts has the EAC made, either on its own or in collaboration with other entities, to bolster these efforts?
- How is the EAC working with state and local election officials as they develop voter education materials for elections this year? Is the EAC also working with state and local election officials as they develop election worker and volunteer training programs?
- Given ongoing concerns about the potential shortage of election workers, what assistance or resources is the EAC providing election officials to assist with the recruiting and retaining of election workers and volunteers?
- As requested in our letter dated November 22, 2021, has the EAC provided information to state and local election offices on the federal resources available for improving security for election officials and workers as well as resources available for assessing and responding to threats.
- Have election officials shared concerns with the EAC about potential supply chain issues, including paper shortages, that could impact election administration? If so what efforts has the EAC made, either on its own or in collaboration with other entities, to assist with this issue?
Thank you for your attention to these important issues and for your efforts to ensure the safe and successful administration of our elections. We look forward to your response.