Bipartisan pair of senators introduces bill to create global election security information sharing program

A pair of senators on Friday introduced a bipartisan bill to create a program within the State Department to share information with U.S. global allies about election security.

The measure would establish a way for the United States and other countries to share information on the best practices for administering elections, such as combating disinformation campaigns and conducting post-election audits.

The bill is a companion to similar bipartisan legislation passed by the House earlier this year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Under the legislation, the new State Department program would offer grants to American nonprofit groups that work on election security to share information with similar groups in other countries.

Foreign election officials would also be brought to the U.S. to study the election process and the program would offer U.S. election officials the chance to examine other nations’ election security measures.

The State Department would be required to brief Congress every two years on the status of the program, and to send biannual reports to the congressional panels on foreign affairs.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll Gillibrand says she's worried about top options in Dem 2020 poll being white men Biden team discussed 2020 run with O'Rourke as VP: report MORE (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, introduced the Senate version of the bill, along with Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanManchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay The Year Ahead: Pressure mounts on election security as 2020 approaches GOP senator: Arctic Ocean may be ice-free in summer within 20 years MORE (R-Alaska).

“This bipartisan legislation will allow the State Department to work with our allies abroad to share information, discuss best practices, and combat the growing threat of election interference to democracies around the world,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

Sullivan added in a statement that the bill “takes important steps to enhance collaboration between the United States and our allies to examine best practices and ensure future elections remain fair, free and absent of foreign interference.”

Election security has been a hot topic for lawmakers and election officials after Russia was determined to have successfully interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Officials have said that, so far, there is no sign of Russia having done the same in this month’s midterm races, but have warned that it could take time for a cyberattack on U.S. election systems to emerge. 

Klobuchar is also a sponsor of the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which seeks to protect U.S. elections from cyberattacks.

The bill was held up over a lack of GOP support earlier this year, but Klobuchar said during a hearing this week that she hopes it will be brought up again in the new year.