Monday, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) announced the endorsement of bipartisan legislation introduced by NDC Members to protect our nation’s elections. Our free and fair elections are a cornerstone of American democracy, and these bills are necessary reforms to better protect our elections ahead of 2020.
Specifically, the NDC endorsed H.R. 1272, The Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act, H.R. 2135, The Preventing Adversaries Intentionally from Disbursing Advertising Dollars (PAID) Act, H.R. 2592, The Honest Ads Act, and H.R. 3529, The Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security (ALERTS) Act.
“New Democrat Coalition Members have been leading the way to develop common-sense, bipartisan solutions that will help restore the integrity of America’s elections,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer. “Broadening transparency of political ads and creating alert systems for potential security breaches of election information are ideas all Americans can get behind. Congress should move to enact this legislation as soon as possible to ensure that the nation’s elections are secure, transparent, and protected from interference.”
“The bipartisan PAID AD Act would close loopholes that currently allow foreign entities to legally purchase ads on TV or social media to influence our elections — something we now know happened extensively in Michigan in 2016,” Slotkin said. “Stopping foreign entities from influencing U.S. elections is not a partisan issue. As a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official, I believe it’s an issue of national security and preserving our democracy, and I’m proud the bill has received the New Democrat Coalition’s endorsement,” New Democrat Coalition Member Rep. Elissa Slotkin added.
“Our enemies are looking for new ways to harm us that don’t require traditional weapons of war, which is why hardening our cyber defenses and securing our elections must be top priorities,” said Murphy. “As a former national security specialist at the Pentagon, I know our adversaries are actively working to undermine the very pillar of our democracy: free and fair elections. My bill, the ALERTS Act, simply says that when voters become the victims of these attacks, they should be notified so they can verify their voting information is accurate and secure. This public acknowledgment of our cyber vulnerabilities will hold our leaders accountable and urge them to take this threat seriously,” said New Democrat Coalition Member Rep. Stephanie Murphy.
“The security of our elections is fundamental to the success of our democracy. Transparency, responsiveness, and stability must all be addressed to ensure every American’s voice is being heard. This suite of bills puts us on a path to restoring integrity and should be passed quickly and with bipartisan support,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Emeritus Jim Himes. Rep. Himes also serves as Chair of the Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research (STAR) Subcommittee of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Election Security Bills
- Rep. Derek Kilmer’s H.R. 1272, The Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act, reforms the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by reducing the number of commissioners from six to five, creating an uneven number so that the Commission has the capacity to act, and requires that at least one member not to be affiliated with either party. This bill also ends a current provision that allows commissioners to serve indefinitely. Commissioners serve one term, thus deterring them from acting in a partisan way in order to retain their seats.
- Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s H.R. 2135, The Preventing Adversaries Intentionally from Disbursing Advertising Dollars (PAID) Act, makes it illegal for foreign entities to purchase political ads to influence elections. While current law prohibits foreign entities from contributing directly to campaigns, they are still legally allowed to purchase ads supporting or opposing a candidate on social media up until election day, and on TV and radio up to 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary election.
- Rep. Derek Kilmer’s H.R. 2592, The Honest Ads Act, would ensure online political advertisements are treated the same as analogous print and broadcast ads by requiring the largest platforms to disclose who paid for online political- and issue-based advertising. The dramatic increase in digital political advertisements and the growing centrality of digital platforms in the lives of Americans requires Congress and the FEC to take meaningful action to ensure that laws and regulations provide fundamental accountability and transparency. This bill allows the American people to see who is funding online ads and inhibits foreign actors from purchasing them.
- Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s H.R. 3529, The Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security (ALERTS) Act,requires federal officials to promptly alert the appropriate state and local officials and Members of Congress if they have credible evidence of an unauthorized intrusion into an election system and a reasonable basis to believe that such intrusion could have resulted in voter information being altered or otherwise affected. The bill requires state and local officials to subsequently inform affected voters, except in cases where a public alert, as determined by federal officials, could compromise intelligence sources or cause harm to an ongoing criminal investigation.