House Democrats Renew Calls for Bill Giving Election Agency More Funding and Responsibility

October 22, 2020
In The News

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray gave an unexpected press briefing on Wednesday—13 days out from the election—in which they said that Iran and Russia obtained voter registration information in attempts to meddle in U.S. elections. They said that voting remains secure, but House lawmakers renewed the call for the Senate to take up their “2019 For the People Act,” which the chamber passed in March 2019 and has specific provisions to beef up the Election Assistance Commission.... The bill “eliminates the existing funding cap, requires each state to comply with any EAC request for post-election survey results following any regularly scheduled general election for federal office beginning in November 2020, directs the [EAC] to assess the security, cybersecurity and effectiveness of the commission’s information technology systems and to review the effectiveness and efficiency of the state-based Help America Vote Act administrative complaint procedures,” according to a summary of the bill. It also, “establishes standards for election vendors based on cybersecurity and company ownership and expands the [EAC’s] ability to issue grants to harden our nation’s election infrastructure [and] directs the [EAC] to make available grants for states to replace voting machines that are not compliant [with] paper ballot voting systems and carry out voting system security improvements.” The legislation also addresses campaign finance transparency, voting rights, redistricting and government ethics. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., who introduced the bill in January 2019, told Government Executive on Thursday that the House also passed the "Securing America’s Federal Elections Act” and the "Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy Act” which would “further protect our elections and safeguard our democracy.” He said he is “deeply alarmed that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans continue to block these critical national security efforts and repeatedly fail to protect our country from foreign attacks.”