In another effort from Congress to expand transparency in U.S. election systems after, Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. announced today that they will reintroduce their Election Systems Integrity Act.
The act, which the senators first introduced last October, would require disclosure of foreign ownership of election service providers so that state and Federal officials would know who is behind the companies that provide election equipment.
The bill was born after the FBI revealed that a Russian oligarch tied to Vladimir Putin became the largest investor in a fund tied to the company that hosted Maryland’s statewide voter registration, candidacy, and election management system. The company also handled online voter registration, the online ballot delivery system, and the unofficial election night results website.
When the senators brought the bill to Congress last year, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration but did not advance. However, the reintroduction of the bill in this year’s Congress show they senators aren’t deterred from their initial bill’s inability to make it out of committee.
“The threats to our election systems from cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns are very real,” Cardin said in a statement. “Transparency and communication between all levels of government will help keep our future elections free and fair.”
Klobuchar–who also announced she will run for president in 2020–added that the Federal government must act to secure the polls before the next presidential election.
“When our nation is under attack from foreign governments there is a Federal obligation to act–we must take action before the next election,” she said in a statement.