Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Tuesday her intention to restore the Elections Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration, which was created during the 110th Congress but abolished in 2013. Pelosi, who will likely be elected House majority leader when Democrats take control of the House in January, also announced that Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, will serve as chairwoman of the subcommittee.
“The protection of the vote is well served by House Democrats and is needed at this crucial time when the vote is under assault,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Together with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson’s [D-Miss.] oversight of critical election infrastructure, Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard [D-Calif.] bolstering election security resources, and House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren [D-Calif.], Chairwoman Fudge’s subcommittee will expose and confront disenfranchisement and strengthen fair elections across America.”
The subcommittee will likely play a large role in shepherding the Secure Elections Act through the House. Under the Secure Elections Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would take primary responsibility for sharing threat information and cybersecurity incidents with state and local authorities. The bill also authorizes DHS to provide grants to state and local governments to help them modernize systems that are identified as vulnerable, replace electronic voting systems that do not have optical scanners, and reimburse states for the inspection of paper ballots.
The bill was introduced in both the House and Senate earlier this year and received bipartisan support – but did not make it out of committee in either chamber.
“Hostile foreign actors have attempted and will continue to attempt to undermine the fundamentals of our democracy by attacking our electoral process,” said Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in a statement in August about the legislation. “It is our responsibility to take every precaution necessary to safeguard our elections and ensure no vote count is ever interfered with.”
In her statement yesterday, Pelosi also said the subcommittee will have “powerful jurisdiction” over the Help America Vote Act, the Election Assistance Commission, and the Federal Election Commission.