State attorneys general demand that Congress take action on election security

State attorneys general demand that Congress take action on election security
© Getty Images

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 EllisonJudge threatens to put prison officials in same uncooled cells as inmates Minnesota students file federal lawsuit against school district alleging 'deliberate indifference' to racist incidents Former Sanders aides launch consulting firm 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 LankfordDemocrats press for action on election security GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Manufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank 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 McConnellDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Democrats press for action on election security Hillicon Valley: Election security looms over funding talks | Antitrust enforcers in turf war | Facebook details new oversight board | Apple fights EU tax bill MORE (R-Ky.) has so far refused to allow a vote on legislation related to the topic. 

Last week, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCalifornia Law to rebuild middle class shows need for congressional action Hillicon Valley: FCC approves Nexstar-Tribune merger | Top Democrat seeks answers on security of biometric data | 2020 Democrats take on Chinese IP theft | How Google, Facebook probes are testing century-old antitrust laws Top Democrat demands answers from CBP on security of biometric data 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 SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall 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.