Blue Dogs Call for a Comprehensive Bipartisan Effort to Secure U.S. Elections, Hold Russia Accountable, and Deter Adversaries from Future Election Interference
WASHINGTON—Today, the Blue Dog Coalition, which focuses on issues related to fiscal responsibility and national security, released a package of legislative proposals in response to the conclusions presented in Volume I of the Mueller Report regarding Russia’s attack against the U.S. political system and attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. The solutions are based primarily on a set of 11 bills endorsed by the Coalition and have earned bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.
The proposals are aimed at better securing American elections and increasing voters’ confidence in the electoral process, including a bill to require all states to use paper ballots or use machines that produce a voter-verifiable paper audit trail. The idea has earned public support from President Trump and Election Systems & Software, a major voting machine vendor. The Blue Dogs also called on Congress to pass the bipartisan, bicameral Honest Ads Act, which requires political ads sold online to abide by the same transparency and disclosure rules as political ads sold on television, radio, and satellite. The proposal includes several measures to enhance coordination and require federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to regularly assess the threat of election interference and inform Congress and state election officials on their findings.
In addition to securing the U.S. election infrastructure and equipping state and local election officials with the resources they need; the Blue Dogs are proposing that Congress close several legal loopholes to ensure foreign entities cannot participate in the U.S. electoral process. The proposal also calls for creating a new criminal violation for any individual who knowingly targets critical U.S. infrastructure, including election infrastructure, with an exception for certain forms of ethical hacking that are used to detect vulnerabilities. Finally, the Blue Dogs are calling on Congress to pass the most hard-hitting measures ever imposed against Russia in retaliation to its attempts to meddle in the 2016 and 2018 elections and pursue aggressive policies to deter future interference attempts by Russia and other adversaries, including China, Iran, and North Korea.
“We are now months away from the start of the presidential primary process,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy. “Time is running out for Congress to secure our elections and deter our adversaries from attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. The only way we will be able to resolve this issue before the 2020 election process begins is by pursuing bipartisan solutions that can pass a Democratic-led House, a Republican-led Senate, and get to President Trump’s desk for a signature. We cannot allow partisan politics to cloud this urgent national security threat to our country. I’m proud of the work our National Security Task Force has done to present a viable first step to secure our elections and deter our adversaries from meddling in our elections going forward.”
“Election security is the first step to having free, fair, and open elections,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security. “It is time for Congress to work together to come up with a bipartisan solution to election interference. Since the founding of our nation, our democracy has been the beacon of hope and the standard by which other countries look to. We need to do everything in our power to assure the American people that the election system is secured and that outside forces will not interfere. The next elections are quickly approaching. The time for action is now.”
“National security goes beyond supporting our troops and funding our military,” said Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05), Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security. “Free, fair, and secure elections are not a partisan issue—they must be a cornerstone of our democracy. It’s time for Congress to act to protect our elections from foreign interference. We must send a clear signal to the world: we will not tolerate any attempt to undermine our country.”
The Blue Dog Coalition’s proposal recommends the following bipartisan response to the Mueller Report:
- Equip and inform states and localities.
- Increase transparency on political ads sold online and reform the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
- Regularly assess the threat, enhance coordination, and alert federal, state, and local officials.
- Prohibit foreign entities from participating in the U.S. electoral process and update federal criminal and immigration laws regarding election interference.
- Hold Russia accountable now and deter Russia and other adversaries from future election interference.