ICYMI: Homeland Republicans Call for Democrats to Get Serious About Election Security
WASHINGTON At today s election security hearing, we heard from both Republicans and Democrats that election security is critical to a healthy democracy and something that must be addressed. Unfortunately, Democrats have taken what could have been an area of bipartisan consensus and turned it into a political football: H.R. 1.
Democrats aren’t interested in bipartisanship
Democrats insist that election security must transcend party politics, yet they are froze Republicans out from the start and are refusing to hold a markup on the bill, which would allow the committee to consider Republican amendments to the legislation.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said it best: It’s unfortunate this is not a markup process. And it’s also unfortunate that this part of the bill, which I think we could to a reasonable bipartisan solution on, is attached to a much larger bill that is poisonous and that will certainly not make it through the Senate.
H.R. 1 Moves the Goalposts on How Much Funding States Need to Secure Elections
Last Congress, Democrats estimated that states needed $300 million to modernize their elections. In H.R. 1, they’re now demanding $1.7 billion.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) called them out: The Democrats Election Security Task force recommended $300 million dollars for states to acquire these paper ballots systems, conduct audits, discover vulnerabilities, provide cybersecurity training to local and state election officials, institute best practices& Through the Help America Vote Act, Congress appropriated $380 million in grants for fiscal year 2018 for these purposes. This bill H.R. 1& authorizes 1.77 billion in grants. Why do we need states an extra $1.77 billion dollars to do the same things that this task force said they could achieve for $300 million.
H.R. 1 Infringes on States Rights
H.R. 1 limits voting system types, vendors states may choose from, and puts into place mandates that reduce flexibility for states to carry out their elections.
We heard from Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) about the importance of ensuring that the federal government doesn t infringe on states’ abilities to carry out their Constitutional authority to conduct elections: Article I Section 4 of our Constitution gives states and local jurisdictions and state legislatures the authority specifically the time, place and manner of holding elections…do you think a voting precinct that has never had an issue [in] states that have [the] constitutional right to run their own elections, should be forced by the federal government to spend money and invest in manpower and change?
I’m disappointed in our majority party because they seem to have disregarded the Constitution, said Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.). How far should the federal government go in telling Tennessee how we should run our elections?
And, in response to questioning by Rep. Van Taylor (R-Texas), both Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs and U.S. Election Assistance Commissioner Thomas Hicks said they did not know what state laws would need to change or constitutional amendments passed to comply with H.R. 1. So much for federalism.
Bottom line: It’s Time to Get Serious About a Bipartisan Approach to Securing our Elections.
Election security, an issue where we had an opportunity to work together to move bipartisan legislation, has gotten caught up in this partisan political power grab, Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said. I hope when H.R. 1 does not advance in the Senate, we can revisit the issue of election security in a bipartisan manner.
Contact: Nicole Hager