May 11, 2023

Whitehouse, Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Protect Elections from Interference

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has joined colleagues to reintroduce legislation to expand protections against election interference during the ballot counting and certification processes.

“Election workers are on the frontlines defending our democracy, and deserve to be protected while performing their jobs,” said Whitehouse.  “Our Protecting Election Administration from Interference Act expands prohibitions on threatening or intimidating election administrators and safeguards election records.”

Election administrators have often been the subject of threats and abusive behavior.  While protections exist for voters, additional protections are needed for workers and volunteers responsible for counting and certifying ballots.  Stronger measures are also needed to protect against efforts to undermine legitimate election results. 

The Protecting Election Administration from Interference Act would:

  • Expand protections for election administrators by extending existing prohibitions on intimidating or threatening voters to include election officials engaged in the counting of ballots, canvassing, and certifying election results.  It is currently a federal crime to interfere with the voting process, and this would make clear that the criminal penalty extends to the counting and certifying process as well.
  • Strengthen protections for Federal election records and election infrastructure to stop election officials or others from endangering the preservation and security of cast ballots.
  • Provide judicial review for election records by allowing the Justice Department and candidates to bring lawsuits to ensure compliance with election record requirements.

The legislation is led by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and cosponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).  Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Colin Allred (D-TX), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). 

The Protecting Election Administration from Interference Act is endorsed by the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Protect Democracy, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund, Transparency International U.S., American Federation of Teachers, Pax Christi USA, and Sojourners. 

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921