Democrats Should Get on Board with Administration Plans for Election Security

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor this morning to complain once again about Democrats not getting their way on their proposals for election security measures.


Just last week, the Trump Administration briefed the House and Senate on steps that would be taken to protect the integrity of the  2020 elections. Following the briefing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the efforts that the administration and Congress have made to fix election security issues experienced in 2016:

Many of the details of yesterday’s briefing were obviously classified and should remain so. But much of what was discussed were the specific details and the full impacts of steps that are already public knowledge. Here in Congress we’ve taken legislative action to enhance interagency coordination on cybersecurity, expedite security clearances for election officials, and allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in direct aid to state election officials.

With the new resources that we provided, the Department of Homeland Security dramatically strengthened its information-sharing and security partnerships with the state and local authorities that operate elections in the United States. Participation came from all 50 states and 1,400 localities. And the direct aid to states helped the authorities who are on the front lines of conducting elections update their systems, strengthen their defenses, and maintain vigilance. These and other actions have been part of a coordinated, government-wide, federal, state, and local campaign to shore up our defenses. I would anticipate that every member who attended the classified briefing likely came away feeling confident that big steps forward have taken place in the last two and a half years.

Other prominent Republican leaders also expressed confidence in the administration’s efforts following the briefing including Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Senator Lindsay Graham.

Unsurprisingly, many Democratic members of Congress expressed their dismay after the briefing, arguing that Republicans should support their proposals for election security which would place much of the oversight power in the hands of the federal government rather than a state-based approach.

Majority Leader McConnell also had a response to the Democrats’ criticisms:

Make no mistake: many of the proposals labeled by Democrats to be ‘election security’ measures are indeed election reform measures that are part of the left’s wishlist I’ve called the Democrat Politician Protection Act. They ignore the great work this administration has done and sweep under the rug the necessary measures this chamber has passed. But, speaking broadly, I think all Americans should remember this: What Russia really set out to do was sow division, spark doubt, and trigger a crisis of confidence in our country that would extend far beyond the actual actions they undertook.

So as I’ve said before, as we continue taking action and shoring up our defenses, it’s also vital that we not fall into precisely the trap that Putin and company have laid. It’s vital that Americans not take the bait on fear and division and ultimately do Russia’s work for them. Our country is strong. American democracy is strong. Our elections are already safer and more secure. And the important work continues. Our adversaries won’t let up and so we are not letting up either.

Senator Schumer and other Democrats should stop playing divisive games and get on board with the election security measures the Trump Administration is implementing.