State attorneys general demand that Congress take action on election security

State attorneys general demand that Congress take action on election security
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Twenty-two Democratic state attorneys general demanded Tuesday that Congress take action to secure election systems ahead of the 2020 vote.

The group of attorneys general, led by Minnesota’s Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonFormer Sanders aides launch consulting firm Minnesota AG will defend state's abortion restrictions despite personal views Hillicon Valley: House panel advances election security bill | GOP senator targets YouTube with bill on child exploitation | Hicks told Congress Trump camp felt 'relief' after release of Clinton docs | Commerce blacklists five Chinese tech groups MORE, sent a letter to the leaders from each party of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Rules Committee begging them to work together to bolster election security in the states, including passing legislation.

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“Our state and local election officials are on the front-lines of the fight to protect our election infrastructure, but they lack the resources necessary to combat a sophisticated foreign adversary like Russia,” they wrote. 

The group of attorneys general asked the senators for “sustained” federal funding to secure election infrastructure against potential interference, for updating the equipment itself and for information technology and cybersecurity training for election officials. 

They also asked that Congress “support the establishment of cybersecurity and audit standards for election systems,” and argued that the federal government needs to keep state election officials informed about suspected breaches and other security intelligence. 

And the attorneys general pushed the senators to support and pass election security legislation, such as the Secure Elections Act. This bill, which Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordOvernight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran Senators urge Trump to sanction Turkey for accepting Russian missile shipment Acosta on shaky ground as GOP support wavers MORE (R-Okla.) told The Hill he plans to reintroduce soon, would improve information-sharing and strengthen the security of voting systems. 

“Securing our election systems is a matter of national security and we hope that you will take immediate action to protect our election infrastructure and restore Americans’ trust in our election systems,” the group wrote. 

The letter was sent in the midst of a sustained push by Senate Democrats to push through election security legislation in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.) has so far refused to allow a vote on legislation related to the topic. 

Last week, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency at hearing Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D-Va.) tried to push through by unanimous consent legislation to require campaigns to notify the FBI and the Federal Election Commission about attempts by foreign governments and nationals to influence the election; the bill, however, was blocked by Senate Republicans. 

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters that Democrats will try to bring up multiple election security bills by unanimous consent, which would force McConnell to either allow a vote or block the bills. Senate Democrats will also push for more funding to secure election systems.