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Torres Small Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Protect Election Infrastructure from Foreign Manipulation

Oct 24, 2019

Washington, DC – This week, Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small, Democratic Caucus National Security Task Force member, and Congressman Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), Blue Dogs National Security Task Force Co-Chair, co-introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit foreign ownership or control of our elections systems. Here is a statement from the office of Rep. Torres Small:

The Protect Our Election Act’s introduction is supported by fellow Blue Dogs National Security Task Force Co-Chair Kendra Horn (D-OK) and Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Greg Steube (R-FL).

The Protect Our Elections Act contains two main provisions:

·         Requires disclosure of foreign ownership or controlThe 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.

“As foreign governments continue to look for vulnerable avenues to compromise our democracy, protecting our election infrastructure takes on renewed urgency. 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,” said Congresswoman Torres Small.

“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 Congressman Van Drew. “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 Congresswoman Kendra Horn. “As co-chair of the [Blue Dog] Election 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.”

“In a democracy, few things are more sacred than an individual’s vote,” said Congressman Dan Crenshaw. “This bill would take common sense steps to ensure American’s decisions at the ballot box cannot be manipulated by malign foreign actors. We already know hostile foreign interests will continue to try to interfere in our election process. It’s on Congress to take the appropriate steps to prevent that from happening.”

“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 Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. “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.”

“Americans need to know that our elections are safe from foreign interference.  It’s why I am cosponsoring the Protect Our Elections Act—to prohibit foreign adversaries from owning and controlling companies that provide American election services, systems, and infrastructure,” said Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.

“Ensuring the security of our elections is essential to our democracy,” said Congressman Greg Steube. “I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation that will protect the integrity of our elections for generations to come.”

“Free and fair elections are critical to the American democratic system. By prohibiting foreign ownership of the companies that administer our elections or support that infrastructure, we take one more step to protect our elections from foreign interference” said Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D.