The Senators’ legislation safeguards the peaceful transition of power, strengthens election security, and ensures the integrity of our elections
The Senators’ effort shows how both parties can come together to safeguard America’s democracy
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation reforming America’s electoral procedures by modernizing the Electoral Count Act, increasing penalties against those who interfere with elections, improving the handling of mail-in ballots, reauthorizing the Election Assistance Commission to help states improve the security and administration of federal elections, increasing protections for election records and election machines, and boosting cybersecurity protections for elections.
The Senators’ legislation – the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act and the Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act – represents a bipartisan effort to safeguard America’s democracy and prevent another violent insurrection.
“The Capitol insurrection shined a bright light on gaps in election law and procedures that could be manipulated by those in power. Our bipartisan effort reforming, modernizing, and safeguarding our election procedures will help prevent another January 6th and ensure the continued integrity of our elections,” said Sinema.
Sinema’s Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act and Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act – introduced with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Manchin (D-W.Va.), Capito (R-W.Va.), Cardin (D-Md.), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Coons (D-Del.), Portman (R-Ohio), Murphy (D-Conn.), Romney (R-Utah), Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tillis (R-N.C.), Young (R-Ind.), Sasse (R-Neb.), and Warner (D-Va.) – make the following specific reforms:
- Modernizes the 1887 Electoral Count Act to ensure that electoral votes tallied by Congress accurately reflect each state’s public vote for President; replaces ambiguous provisions of the law with clear procedures that maintain appropriate state and federal roles in selecting the President and Vice President of the United States as set forth in the U.S. Constitution; ensures that Congress can identify a single, conclusive slate of electors from each state; affirmatively states that the role of the Vice President in the joint session of Congress is solely ministerial; and increases the threshold needed to lodge an objection to electors from one Senator and one Representative to one-fifth of the duly chosen and sworn members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate
- Helps to promote the orderly transfer of power by providing clear guidelines for when eligible candidates for President or Vice President may receive federal resources to support their transition into office; allows an eligible candidate, during the limited time period in which the outcome of a presidential election is reasonably in dispute to receive transition resources, removing the need for the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration to ascertain the apparent winner during this time
- Doubles the penalty under federal law for individuals who, by force or threat of force, injure, intimidate, or interfere with election officials, poll watchers, voters, or candidates; raises the penalty to up to two years in prison
- Increases protections for election records and election equipment by: ensuring that all records, including electronic records, are retained for 22 months; prohibiting the theft, destruction, concealment, mutilation, or alteration of voting systems to defraud a fair election, and increasing penalties for anyone who willfully steals, destroys, conceals, mutilates, or alters any election record
- Improves the handling of mail-in ballots by the U.S. Postal Service and provides guidance to states to improve their mail-in ballot processes where permitted under state law
- Reauthorizes the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for five years to help states improve the administration and security of federal elections through grants to states and non-binding guidance and best-practices for election officials in various areas, including cybersecurity, election audits, and voting accessibility
- Improves election cybersecurity by requiring the EAC to conduct cyber penetration testing and certification of voting systems at accredited labs