Latest News 29-11-2023 13:03 10 Views

House to advance election security overhaul as 2024 heats up

House Republicans are making a renewed effort at strengthening American election security just weeks before the 2024 races formally kick off. 

The Committee on House Administration is holding a meeting on Thursday to advance seven different bills that touch on elections at the federal, state and local level. 

'It's just some commonsense reforms that we have an opportunity to put forward that strengthen the integrity of our elections,' committee Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wis., told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. 

Among the set of bills are measures to allow states to require proof of citizenship when someone registers to vote by mail, mandating the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration communicate information to states to help them verify citizenship of people registered to vote, and a bill to repeal a Washington, D.C., law allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections, as well as others.

Democrats have broadly opposed GOP election security efforts, accusing Republicans of trying to make it harder to vote. But Steil said he believed the D.C. measure in particular should be a bipartisan push.

'When we had a joint hearing with Oversight… we went back and forth, and when we explained what the D.C. law does, that it would allow, you know, foreign nationals working with foreign embassies in D.C. who have been here for 30 days to vote for mayor, even Democrats at the hearing said well… I could agree with you there,' he said.

'The idea that we're going to allow non-citizens to vote in our nation's capital for the mayor of Washington, D.C., sounds as ridiculous as it is.'

Steil said another of the bills, which would prohibit foreign nationals from making political contributions in elections or on ballot initiatives and public referendums, should be a 'no brainer' for Democrats to support.

'There’s effectively what I view as a loophole in the law that bans foreign contributions to federal candidates… federal candidates, you can't accept foreign money… But it's not the case right now for ballot initiatives. And so we're putting that in place to, again, strengthen the integrity of our elections, prevent foreign interference.'

The Thursday committee meeting will be about a month and a half before the Jan. 15 Iowa caucus, when Republican voters will participate in the first contest of the 2024 presidential election. Democrats are holding their first primary in South Carolina in early February.

Steil had introduced those bills as part of a larger package called the American Confidence in Elections Act in July. He told Fox News Digital that his committee would now be advancing them as individual bills to give at least part of the package a greater chance of passing – and to get Democrats on the record. 

'The standalone legislation, I think, also gives us an opportunity to either, A, put the Dems on the record that they disagree with it, or B, pass it through the House and force the Senate to act on this, because these are issues that are overwhelmingly supported by the American population,' Steil said.

However, he would not directly answer whether he believed voter fraud or election insecurity played a significant role in the 2020 and 2022 elections.

'I think we have an opportunity to enhance people's confidence in the election,' Steil said instead. 'So, I think what we see is people across the country don't have a level of competence that I think we could instill by further strengthening our elections. This is about building confidence, and you build confidence by enhancing election integrity.'

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