NY-22 Minute: Blue Dogs Call for Increased Election Security By Luke Perry
Leaders of the Blue Dog Caucus, including Rep. Anthony Brindisi, released an election security proposal that makes several recommendations in the wake of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report for the U.S. Justice Department. The Blue Dogs are a centrist group of 24 Democrats who serve as a crucial swing group in the House of Representatives.
The proposal (available in full here) is premised on a main conclusion of Robert Mueller, “there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election” in 2016, and seeks to overcome politics to address this “national security threat.”
There are five main parts of the plan:
Better equip and inform states and localities of election meddling
The plan calls for requiring the use of paper ballots and strengthening cybersecurity surrounding elections.
Increase transparency of digital political ads
The plan calls for digital ads to follow the same reporting requirements as TV ads and for social media companies “to make all reasonable efforts” to prevent foreign countries from advertising in U.S. campaigns.
Provide regular threat assessments and enhance coordination with federal, state, and local officials
The plan calls for candidates and campaign staffers to “report suspected security breaches” and for the development of a mandatory federal assessment of electoral interference beginning 180 days prior to a national election.
Ban foreign entities from participation in the U.S. electoral process
The plan calls for prohibiting foreign countries, nationals, or corporations from advertising in U.S. campaigns and enabling law enforcement to shutdown botnets and “other digital infrastructure that can be used for illegal activity.”
Hold Russia accountable and deter other adversaries from future election interference
The plan calls for several more sanctions against Russia, including those targeting Russian banks, investments, cyber sector, sovereign debt and political officials.
The Blue Dogs contend that most of their proposals have already been formally proposed in Congress through various bills, many of which are bipartisan.
Politico views the Blue Dog proposal as an effort “to drag the conversation back to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and away from mounting calls from many of their colleagues to try to remove President Donald Trump from office.”
There is “a real sense of urgency for Congress to tackle gaps in the nation’s election infrastructure,” but also “a chance for Democratic centrists to pivot away from what they see as a politically toxic debate over impeachment.” Over 60 Democrats have publicly supported impeaching the President, more than a quarter of the caucus.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Blue Dog co-Chair, said that “Russian interference in our elections is the one thing there’s consensus around, and so we should work in a bipartisan way.”
This sentiment was echoed by Rep. Brindisi. “Securing our elections is something Democrats and Republicans agree on,” Brindisi stated, “it is commonsense: Russia, or any other foreign country, should not be influencing our elections” and “with only 227 days until the next election, Congress needs to act now on these solutions both parties support.”
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College
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