WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, released the following statement today after the announcement that consideration of the bipartisan Secure Elections Act has been postponed.
“With only 76 days before the election, with cyberattacks from Russia and other countries and criminal enterprises being revealed every day, with no national requirement for critical security protocols such as audits or backup paper ballots for our nation’s election infrastructure, we must take action before the next election. I am disappointed that the consideration of the bipartisan Secure Elections Act is being delayed today. To do nothing before the next election would be irresponsible.
I appreciate the work of Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt on this bill, just as I do my coauthor and bill lead Senator James Lankford. They tried valiantly to salvage the votes for this bill on the Republican side. In the end we had every single Democrat on the committee committed to vote for the bill. Any changes that were recently made to the bill were made to accommodate the Republican leadership, and while some of us would have preferred the bill in its original form, we were ready to vote for the Chairman’s mark.
The bill has momentum. Its coauthors include Senators Burr and Warner, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Senators Graham, Harris, Heinrich, Nelson, King, Rounds, Moran, and Collins, and a bipartisan companion bill has been introduced in the House.
The bill contains important provisions for protecting our election infrastructure and would (1) require backup paper ballots for all states —including the nine that have partial paper ballots and the five that do not have them at all— in order to receive federal election funding; (2) require that all fifty states conduct post-election audits; and (3) require homeland security to immediately notify states of election infrastructure breaches.
Each and every day Vladimir Putin, hostile nations, and criminal forces devise new schemes to muck up our democracy and other infrastructure. When our nation is under attack from foreign governments there is a federal obligation to act.
I want to thank Senators James Lankford, Roy Blunt and Richard Burr, along with Mark Warner, for having the strength to stand up for this and continue to work with me to get the bill done. I want to thank all Democratic members of the Committee for supporting the bill. For everyone else who delayed this action today, I hope that you will listen to the clarion cry of our intelligence community and continue to work with us and reschedule the markup and pass the bill into law.”