ICYMI: GOP lawmakers offer new election security measure
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) led a group of lawmakers in introducing the Honest Elections Act to protect against foreign interference in our elections and preserve the integrity of our election process.
Specifically, the bill adopts a modern, common-sense approach for disclosing who has paid for online political ads, increases monitoring of spending by foreign nationals in elections, bans ballot harvesting, and prohibits the Election Assistance Commission funds from going to states allowing non-citizen voting.
This legislation was covered by The Hill newspaper.
GOP lawmakers offer new election security measure
BY MAGGIE MILLER - 10/18/19 10:00 AM EDT
A group of House Republicans introduced legislation Friday to reduce foreign interference in U.S. elections, including by making online political ads more transparent.
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), the top Republican on the House Administration Committee and the primary sponsor of the bill, told The Hill in a statement that he was putting forward the legislation due to the “unacceptable” nature of Russian misinformation efforts in the lead-up to the 2016 elections.
“We may never be able to prevent criminal activity, whether that’s in our elections or in our day-to-day lives, but we can provide our law enforcement with the best tools and resources available,” Davis said. “It's imperative that our elections systems are free from foreign influence, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support this legislation and put the needs of the American people first."
Republican co-sponsors of the Honest Elections Act include Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Don Bacon (Neb.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Pete King (N.Y.), Mark Walker (N.C.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Pete Stauber (Minn.), Greg Steube (Fla.) and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jennifer González-Colón (R).
The Honest Elections Act would expand the prohibition on foreign nationals contributing to campaigns to include state and local initiatives and referendums.
It would also codify existing Federal Election Commission guidance to require that all online political advertisements include a disclosure of who paid for them, such as with a “click-through” option, where the individual could click to a second page for information on who purchased the ad.
The bill would also prohibit any federal dollars for election security to go to states that allow noncitizens to vote in elections, and would require states to forfeit all federal election security grants unless they ban “ballot harvesting,” which allows mail-in ballots to be collected without a verification system to determine who was in possession of the ballots.
Ballot harvesting is already illegal in many states. The law would allow family members or caretakers to collect ballots.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller found that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections in a “sweeping and systematic way,” including through hacking operations and disinformation campaigns that were intended to sway the vote in favor of now-President Trump.
A bipartisan report on Russian disinformation efforts in 2016 released by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week urged Congress, the Trump administration and social media platforms to take action to prevent similar interference during the 2020 elections.
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