Sens. Klobuchar, Warren Introduce $20B Bill to Help States Administer Elections
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren or Massachusetts, left, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. (Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 18 May 2022 08:00 PM
Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced a partisan bill Wednesday that would apparently help states and localities administer elections, train poll workers and eliminate certain barriers to voting.
The legislation, which has an assigned value of $20 billion, could potentially ''secure election infrastructure'' by upgrading voting equipment and registration systems, help and train nonpartisan election officials and poll workers, protect election officials from threats, and ''increase ballot access for minorities, voters with disabilities, and those who live overseas or on Indian lands.''
''Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy; but in recent years we have seen a barrage of threats seeking to undermine our elections,'' Klobuchar said.
She added: ''It is critical that we respond to these threats head-on by ensuring that state and local governments have the resources needed to strengthen the administration of our elections, protect election officials on the frontlines, and provide all eligible voters with the opportunity to make their voices heard.''
On Thursday, Klobuchar will oversee a hearing on the administration of the 2022 midterm elections.
This event will reportedly focus on election security, election-related misinformation and potential threats against election workers.
The Klobuchar-Warren bill comes one day after the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race — specifically GOP primary candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz (31.2% of the vote), David McCormick (31.1%) and Kathy Barnette (24.7%) — ground to a halt late Tuesday into early Wednesday because state officials weren't fully prepared to tabulate certain votes, including mail-in ballots.
It also follows reports of Ohio and Texas posting massive voting turnouts in Tuesday's primary elections.
''This bill is a critical step towards empowering Americans to participate in the democratic process,'' Warren said.
The Klobuchar-Warren proposal would require states to submit plans for distributing resources and administering election activities before receiving funds.
The bill's co-sponsors are Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Angus King, I-Maine, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.