Legislation & policy analysis

Issue One: Support for election security is growing across political spectrum

Today, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon, retired Lieutenant Colonel and President of the London Center for Policy Research Tony Shaffer, and Vice President for Programs at National Election Defense Coalition Susan Greenhalgh called on Congress to strengthen our national security and provide support to states to protect our elections ahead of 2020. 

The press conference follows Issue One’s latest report on five loopholes in America’s political system that allow foreign interference in elections — from buying digital ads that spread disinformation to hacking election systems — and increased pressure on Senate Republicans who have sponsored election security legislation but have not yet overcome resistance from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). 

“For the first time in years, Republicans and Democrats inside and outside Congress agree that preventing foreign interference in our elections is a national emergency that must be addressed,” said Issue One CEO Nick Penniman. “Our political system is riddled with loopholes that foreign actors will continue to exploit without stronger laws and effective enforcement. Congress should pass comprehensive bipartisan election security legislation now.” 

In July, Issue One launched the “Don’t Mess With US” project to stop foreign interference in our elections. The project supports more funding for states to improve their election security and these five legislative initiatives:

  • The Honest Ads Act. This bill would combat foreign disinformation campaigns on the largest online platforms. It has 37 Republican and Democratic co-sponsors in the House and Senate.
  • The Secure Elections Act would streamline and strengthen cybersecurity and election capabilities between federal intelligence entities and state election agencies. 
  • The DETER Act would impose sanctions against countries that interfere in U.S. elections. 
  • The Foreign Agents Disclosure and Registration Enhancements Act would modernize outdated lobbying laws. 
  • The Shell Company Abuse Act would ensure Russia, China, Iran, and others could not hide behind U.S. tax laws to subvert our elections.

At the press conference, Norquist said, “We want our citizens to know that the elections are free, fair, open, and accurately counted.” He noted that it is good that many of the current efforts are bipartisan, and that there is time to pass key bills like the Secure Elections Act ahead of 2020.

Brandon said, “If the American people don’t believe in the legitimacy of our elections, the entire system starts to crumble.”

“Election security is an issue we conservatives feel very strongly about. This is far too important to not address, and we have time, it is not too late,” said Shaffer. “Foreign threats are doing everything they can to upend our constitutional way of government.” 

For more information about the “Don’t Mess With US” project, visit www.dontmesswithus.org