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Senate panel postpones election security bill markup over lack of GOP support

Senate panel postpones election security bill markup over lack of GOP support
© Greg Nash

A long-anticipated hearing on legislation to protect U.S. elections from cyberattacks was postponed Wednesday over concerns the legislation did not have enough Republican support.

A spokeswoman for Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP vows quick confirmation of Trump's Supreme Court pick amid coronavirus turmoil This week: Coronavirus complicates Senate's Supreme Court fight Schumer demands Senate coronavirus testing program after Trump diagnosis MORE (R-Mo.) confirmed to The Hill that the markup had been postponed, shortly before it was scheduled to begin.

A GOP Senate aide told The Hill that the secretaries of several states had “expressed concerns about certain provisions” in the legislation.

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“In order for a truly bipartisan election security bill to reach the floor, additional majority support is necessary,” the aide said.

The legislation, promoted by Sens. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenators push for Turkey sanctions after reports Ankara used Russian system to detect US-made jets McConnell: Plan is to confirm Trump's Supreme Court pick before election COVID outbreak threatens GOP's Supreme Court plans MORE (R-Okla.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats seek to alleviate public concern about some results not being available on election night Washington flooded with Women's March protesters ahead of Barrett confirmation vote Supreme Court battle turns into 2020 proxy war MORE (D-Minn.), would help guard election systems against cyberattacks.

Klobuchar said in a statement that she was "disappointed" by the markup's delay, thanking Democrats who supported it and calling it "irresponsible" to not pass legislation ahead of the November midterm elections.

"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," she said.

Vermont Secretary of State and National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) President Jim Condos (D) had criticized the bill during a press call on Tuesday, saying that he could not support the legislation as currently written, Politico reported.

State election officials had raised concerns over the bill since Lankford and Klobuchar introduced it last December; the senators have since introduced new versions of the legislation to address some of those worries.

Blunt unveiled his amended version of the legislation last week, which removes the initial version's requirement that states conduct post-election audits with paper records.

The new version of the bill would also mandate that the Homeland Security secretary establish a "template" for states receiving federal election security funds when drafting plans on how to combat election cyber threats.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee — Reps. Tom RooneyThomas (Tom) Joseph RooneyHouse Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report Hill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons MORE (R-Fla.), Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Election integrity dominates as Nov. 3 nears Tim Scott invokes Breonna Taylor, George Floyd in Trump convention speech Sunday shows preview: Republicans gear up for national convention, USPS debate continues in Washington MORE (R-S.C.), Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesOvernight Defense: Pentagon IG to audit use of COVID-19 funds on contractors | Dems optimistic on blocking Trump's Germany withdrawal | Obama slams Trump on foreign policy House panel urges intelligence community to step up science and technology efforts Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones MORE (D-Conn.) and Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellCentury of the Woman: The State of Women and Voting Rights Female lawmakers, officials call for more women at all levels of government to improve equity The Hill's 12:30 Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Country reacts to debate night of mudslinging MORE (D-Ala.) — introduced a companion election security bill in the House earlier this month.