House Democrats on Friday unveiled several election security measures as part of their first sweeping legislation of the session.
The bill, H.R. 1, or the For the People Act, mandates that states use paper ballots in elections, which must also be hand-counted, or by “optical character recognition device,” the bill states.
Rep. John SarbanesJohn Peter Spyros SarbanesDemocrats push to shield election workers from violent threats Rep. Bush drives calls for White House action on eviction moratorium lapse Chesapeake Bay's health increases slightly to a C MORE (D-Md.) introduced the legislation, which he and other Democrats have described as a comprehensive anti-corruption package that will set the tone for their time in control of the House.
The bill will also allow the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) — the small federal agency tasked with helping officials carry out elections — to hand out funding to states for the improvement of their elections systems.
The Department of Homeland Security would also be required to conduct a threat assessment ahead of elections and that voting systems be tested nine months before any national election.
And the legislation creates security standards for voting machine vendors, including that they must be owned by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The EAC has had voluntary voting system guidelines for vendors in place.
There are also several provisions included on helping Americans to vote, like offering online voter registration, shoring up the Voting Rights Act and ending voter roll purges.
While the bill has a decent chance of moving through the House, where Democrats hold the majority, it may face a more difficult path to passage in the GOP-controlled Senate.
The Senate is also home to the now-dead Secure Elections Act, sponsored by Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook This week: Democrats face mounting headaches MORE (D-Minn.) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordCOVID faith: Are your religious views 'sincerely held'? Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates GOP senators seek to block dishonorable discharges for unvaccinated troops MORE (R-Okla.), aimed at securing election systems from cyberattacks. The senators have said they will reintroduce the legislation this legislative session.
Congress failed to pass any election security legislation after Russia was determined to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race Cyber preparedness could save America's 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' MORE said late last month that Russia conducted influence campaigns targeting the 2018 midterms, but that there were no compromises of U.S. election systems.