WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Committee on Rules and Administration with oversight over federal elections, and Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced legislation to prevent election subversion and protect election administrators.
Following the 2020 election, election administrators have often been the subject of threats and abusive behavior from those seeking to overturn election results, despite the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security calling the election “the most secure in American history.” While protections exist for voters, additional protections are needed for workers and volunteers responsible for counting and certifying ballots. Stronger measures are also needed to protect against efforts to undermine legitimate election results.
“Across the country, we are seeing election administrators and officials face a barrage of threats and abusive behaviors by those seeking to overturn election results,” said Klobuchar. “We need to respond to these threats head on to protect those who are on the frontlines defending our democracy. This legislation is key to fighting back against attempts to undermine our elections and ensuring our democracy works for every American.”
“Across the country, Republican-led state legislatures are weaponizing the Big Lie to threaten election workers and undermine the non-partisan administration of our elections. We must take action to protect our democracy and the integrity of the voting process from beginning to end,” said Padilla. “It is critical that Congress provide increased protections for our election workers and the preservation of election records, including electronic records and voting machines.”
“These common-sense measures to ensure the integrity of our elections and American citizens’ access to the ballot should attract broad bipartisan support, and I thank Chair Klobuchar for her leadership,” said Ossoff.
“The ballot box is the pulsating heart of our democracy—and any attempt to block access or interfere with the work of our election officials is completely unacceptable,” said Merkley. “Free and fair elections should not be a partisan issue. It’s time for Congress to act to protect our freedom to vote, including by strengthening safeguards for our election administrators, so they can do their work in a thorough and impartial manner.”
The Protecting Election Administration from Interference Act would:
- Expand protections for election administrators by extending existing prohibitions on intimidating or threatening voters to include election officials engaged in the counting of ballots, canvassing, and certifying election results. It is currently a federal crime to interfere with the voting process, and this would make clear that the criminal penalty extends to the counting and certifying process as well.
- Strengthen protections for Federal election records and election infrastructure to stop election officials or others from endangering the preservation and security of cast ballots.
- Provide judicial review for election records by allowing the Justice Department and candidates to bring lawsuits to ensure compliance with election record requirements.
In June, Klobuchar introduced the Preventing Election Subversion Act with Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Ossoff to ensure the integrity of local elections and protect the safety and security of election workers and volunteers.
This legislation followed the March introduction of the For the People Act, a sweeping package of comprehensive reforms introduced by Klobuchar, Merkley, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) to address voter intimidation and suppression, eliminate dark money in campaigns, put an end to gerrymandering, and strengthen ethics laws.