Blue Dog Members Introduce Coalition-Endorsed Bipartisan, Bicameral Protect Our Elections Act

Oct 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON—This week, the Co-Chairs of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security—Reps. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) and Kendra Horn (OK-05)—and other members of the Blue Dog Coalition joined several House Republicans to introduce the House version of the bipartisan, bicameral Protect Our Elections Act, which would prohibit foreign ownership or control of U.S. elections systems. The Senate companion of the Protect Our Elections Act was included in a package of legislative proposals endorsed by the Blue Dogs in response to the conclusions presented in Volume I of the Mueller report.

 

In addition to Reps. Horn and Van Drew, the House bill is co-sponsored by Blue Dog Reps. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), in addition to Republican Reps.  Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Roger Marshall (KS-01), Greg Steube (FL-17), and Don Young (AK-At-Large). The Senate version of the bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

 

“The right to vote is the foundation of our democratic system of government and ensuring the integrity of our elections is the single most important thing that we can do to keep Americans’ faith in our system of government,” said Rep. Van Drew (NJ-02), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security. “At a time when foreign governments are trying to sow doubt about the integrity of our elections, prohibiting foreign ownership and control of our elections infrastructure is a simple and common-sense step to securing our elections.”

 

“Election security is not a partisan issue. It is essential to our democracy. Congress must protect our electoral process from foreign interference and bad actors who seek to undermine our democracy,” said Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security. “As co-chair of the National Security Task Force, I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues. The Protect Our Elections Act will prohibit foreign ownership and control of election systems and require increased transparency for election services companies. These practical steps to secure our elections send a clear message to the world that we stand united on election security.”

 

“Our elections are the bedrock of our democracy—and we need to take concrete actions to protect their integrity. If foreign actors have the ability to compromise our election systems, overall trust in our system of government begins to erode,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. “I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation, which would require election firms to disclose potential sources of foreign control or influence in their operations. And by prohibiting foreign control of election systems, our bill would help restore confidence in the security of our federal elections.”

 

“As foreign governments continue to look for vulnerable avenues to compromise our democracy, protecting our election infrastructure takes on renewed urgency,” said Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. “Prohibiting foreign ownership or control of election service providers is a common-sense step to protect our elections. By requiring collaboration between companies that provide election services, government agencies, and local governments, we are ensuring that foreign actors’ attempts to undermine our democratic process are stopped.”

 

The Protect Our Elections Act contains two main provisions: 

 

  • Requires disclosure of foreign ownership or control: The bill requires the companies that provide elections services to report any foreign national who owns or controls their firm to relevant government agencies and to notify those same agencies of any material change in ownership or control.

 

  • Prohibits foreign ownership and control of elections systems: The bill requires state and local governments to conduct an annual evaluation of their election service providers to ensure that each election service provider is solely owned and controlled by U.S. persons with the exception of our “Five Eyes” allies—Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

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