Senate Democrats unveil bill to protect election officials, prevent election subversion

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThis week: Democrats face mounting headaches Klobuchar: 'It is evil to make it deliberately hard for people to vote' Democrats push to shield election workers from violent threats   MORE (Minn.) unveiled legislation Thursday aiming to combat efforts to undermine election results and install new protections for election workers, who have received a rise in violent threats since the 2020 election. 

The bill, titled the Protecting Election Administration from Interference Act, would extend existing prohibitions on threats to election officials to include individuals involved in ballot-counting, canvassing and certifying election results. 

The legislation also calls for strengthened protections for federal election records and election systems to “stop election officials or others from endangering the preservation and security of cast ballots,” and allowing the Justice Department to bring lawsuits to enforce compliance with election records requirements. 

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Democratic Sens. Alex PadillaAlex PadillaDHS secretary condemns treatment of Haitian migrants but says US will ramp up deportations Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Democrats revive filibuster fight over voting rights bill MORE (Calif.), Jon OssoffJon OssoffProgressive poll finds support for solar energy tax credit legislation Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise Herschel Walker's entrance shakes up Georgia Senate race MORE (Ga.) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats revive filibuster fight over voting rights bill Senate backers of new voting rights bill push for swift passage Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise MORE (Ore.) joined Klobuchar in announcing the proposal Thursday. 

“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,” Klobuchar said in a statement. 

“We need to respond to these threats head on to protect those who are on the frontlines defending our democracy,” added Klobuchar, who has oversight over federal elections as head of the Rules Committee. 

Klobuchar argued that the “legislation is key to fighting back against attempts to undermine our elections and ensuring our democracy works for every American.”

The new bill comes after Klobuchar, along with Ossoff, Merkley and Georgia Sen. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockHerschel Walker will speak at Trump rally in Georgia Democrats push to shield election workers from violent threats   House Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid MORE (D) in June introduced the Preventing Election Subversion Act in an effort to protect the integrity of local elections and the safety of their workers and volunteers. 

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Concerns have grown that election workers could leave their posts as they are barraged with violent threats, with some officials saying that their homes have been broken into and that their private information was posted maliciously online. 

According to an April survey by the Brennan Center for Justice, nearly 1 in 6 local election workers have received threats of violence, and close to 1 in 3 expressed feeling unsafe because of their job. 

Election officials and experts have blamed the threats on false claims of a stolen 2020 election that have been advanced by former President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE and his allies. 

The Thursday bill is separate from the ongoing negotiations Klobuchar and other Senate leaders are engaged in to come to a consensus on a scaled-back voting rights bill after Senate Republicans blocked the sweeping For the People Act earlier this year. 

Klobuchar said Tuesday that Senate Democrats were close to a new bill that would unite both progressives and more centrist members of the caucus.