Schumer seeks election security funding, legislation
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants Congress to boost funding for election security while deriding the Trump administration for failing to prepare for threats to the balloting next year.
In a letter to his Democratic colleagues Tuesday, Schumer said the administration is "not forcefully and adequately responding to the attack on our democracy" in light of the findings by special counsel Robert Mueller. He proposed three legislative remedies, predicting all could secure significant GOP backing, for the sort interference detailed in Mueller's report:
- Provide additional funding for state and local election infrastructure and administration.
- Fully fund the Election Assistance Commission.
- Consider election security legislation, such as the stalled Secure Elections Act, which was sponsored by Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma last year.
At a press briefing, Schumer said Democrats were "going to push for a significantly higher number" than the $380 million given to states last year for election security. State officials have told Congress the money doesn't go far enough. He also urged the Senate to impose additional sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and requested a meeting with intelligence officials to learn what the U.S. is doing to protect against interference with the voting of 2020.
The latest effort to ease restrictions on voting through litigation is a challenge to Mississippi's requirement that naturalized citizens show proof of their citizenship when they register.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, says the law is unconstitutional because it violates of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause by treating one category of citizens differently from another. People born in the United States need only check a box on the state's registration form attesting they are citizens.
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which helped bring the suit, says Mississippi is the only state with a unique mandate for would-be voters who were not born American citizens.
Strand is president of the Congressional Institute, a nonprofit that seeks to help members of Congress better serve their constituents and their constituents better understand Congress. He testified before the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress in March.
As the House of Representatives marches toward a partisan impeachment, the American public can be forgiven for missing a bright spot of productive bipartisanship: the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. After an encouraging year of bipartisan committee work, the House voted last week to extend the panel for a year.
This committee has made 29 unanimous recommendations to improve technology, transparency, accessibility and constituent engagement as well as provide better support for staff. Twenty-nine unanimous recommendations. And these aren't boiler plate measures like "The House should have more transparency." They are well thought-out solutions that can be taken up by committees of jurisdiction, such as allowing new members to hire a transition staffer, promoting civility during new-member orientation, streamlining bill writing and finalizing a system to easily track how amendments would alter legislation and impact current law.
The committee's members wanted to be part of this work. They understand how important it is for the House to catch up with modern times. There's still a lot of work to do, though, which is why it's great they will be able to continue through the end of 2020.