Schumer, Sanders call for Senate panel to address election security

Schumer, Sanders call for Senate panel to address election security
© Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Sanders tells Maher 'there will be a number of plans' to remove Trump if he loses Sirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters MORE (I-Vt.) on Wednesday called for the establishment of a bipartisan Senate committee to examine election security and integrity ahead of the November election.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley warns Schumer to steer clear of Catholic-based criticisms of Barrett Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Harris slams Trump's Supreme Court pick as an attempt to 'destroy the Affordable Care Act' MORE (R-Ky.), Schumer and Sanders advocated for such a committee to be composed of “equal representation from both parties” to examine issues including the safety and security of mail-in voting and post-election scenarios.

“As you know, there is a great deal of concern about possible confusion and chaos in the upcoming November 3rd election,” the senators wrote. “Sadly, there are some who are systematically undermining public confidence in the voting process, and irresponsibly fanning suspicions and conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of election results.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“At this historic moment we believe Democrats and Republicans in the Senate must come together to guarantee the integrity of our election process,” Schumer and Sanders added.

They advocated for a bipartisan panel to hold hearings to examine processes in place to ensure the November election would take place securely and safely, with the hearings including testimony from state and local election officials such as secretaries of state. 

Topics for the committee to consider include ensuring U.S. voters are aware that vote tallies may take longer this year due to a surge in mail-in ballots in order to avoid disinformation around the election process and to prepare for post-election scenarios that could involve violence.

“We believe this issue is above partisan politics,” the senators wrote. “It is about the very essence of American democracy. Let us come together, Republicans and Democrats, to ensure the security of our elections and assure Americans’ confidence in the result.”

A spokesperson for McConnell did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the letter. 

ADVERTISEMENT

McConnell pushed back against concerns over mail-in voting during a speech in Kentucky last month, noting that “the election is going to be fine” and that states including Oregon, Washington and Colorado have previously voted successfully by mail for years prior to 2020.

Sanders and Schumer applauded McConnell for his recent comments, describing his stance as “precisely the kind of reassurance that American voters need going into this election.”

Concerns over election security have ramped up in recent months as President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE and other officials have made unsubstantiated claims about the mail-in voting process.  

In addition, a senior official released an assessment in August that Russia, China and Iran are actively interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, while Microsoft announced last week that it has seen efforts by hackers in the same three countries to interfere in elections.