As concerns mount about the security and integrity of the upcoming midterm elections, White House Wednesday blocked the Secure Elections Act, just as the Senate Rules Committee was slated to begin marking it up.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “has all the statutory authority it needs to assist state and local officials to improve the security of existing election infrastructure,” Yahoo News cited White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters as saying.
The White House also expressed concern the legislation would stand in violation of “the principles of federalism,” with Walters saying, “We cannot support legislation with inappropriate mandates or that moves power or funding from the states to Washington for the planning and operation of elections.”
The legislation, introduced in March by Sen. Jim Lankford, R-Okla., had significant bipartisan support but also had drawn criticism for not going far enough to ensure election security. It would require states to conduct audits after federal elections and would authorize election heads in every state to revive threat information and share with the federal government.
“The issue of election cybersecurity is very important and more must be done now,” Lankford said in a statement after the White House nixed the bill, adding that “Congressional inaction is unacceptable.”