Call Your MoC about ELECTION SECURITY for the Week of Sunday 5 January 2020

Protecting our elections is a complex subject. There are so many ways that our elections are vulnerable and many options for protecting us from each one. It seems like the list only gets longer, too, what with the recent release of documents exposing the multitude of elections Cambridge Analytica tried to rat fuck. Not to mention the obfuscation, misdirection, and out right lies that #MoscowMitch is using to help Russia help the Repubes stay in power in 2020.

There are lots of bills floating around Congress that would address some aspect of protecting our elections. I will do my best to (a) break the issues down, (b) outline each of the bills, and (c) direct your calls to the most appropriate MoC for each one.

#MoscowMitch’s Lies

One of #MoscowMitch’s favorite weak-kneed lines to use in opposing any action to safeguard our elections from rat fucking is that the federal government already has done everything possible and now it is up to the states. He’ll point to the whopping $380 million allocated by the Help America Vote Act of 2018 as proof. Here’s why that is just so much bullshit:

  • It sounds like a lot of money, until you realize it ain’t. It’s only $2.43 per registered voter.
  • It was allocated to provide staffing and training to the states, not the purchase of new secure voting equipment.
  • States plan their security measures based on the money that the federal government makes available not the other way round. In other words, no one makes a plan and then looks for the funding. Everyone looks at the funds available and then figures out how they’ll use them.
  • Since this money hasn’t already been spent, #MoscowMitch reasons, there obviously isn’t a need for money to be allocated. See above. It weren’t very useful for meeting the needs of the states.
  • #MoscowMitch loves to explain that we cannot afford to do more. He don’t tell you that is because we’ve saddled ourselves with $1 trillion of unnecessary deficit spending due to the permanent tax cut the Repubes gave the 1%. What’s a few million more added to that deficit spending when it means having a healthy and sound democracy?
  • Voter ID laws will protect our elections. Fraudulent voting is not a thing and certainly isn’t a threat to our elections.

The Bills Before Congress

HR 4617 – The Shield Act

  • Sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Ca, 19)
  • The Shield Act is perhaps the most important bill before congress right now because it is designed to protect our elections from foreign interference as outlined by the Mueller Report. According to the 5 Calls page on the act, it will do the following things:
    • Create a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents,
    • Improve transparency of online political advertisements,
    • Close loopholes that allow foreign nationals and foreign governments to spend in U.S. elections,
    • Restrict the exchange of campaign information between candidates and foreign governments and their agents, and
    • Prohibit deceptive practices about voting procedures
  • Current status:
    • It passed the House 24 October 2019 by a 227-181 vote. If that looks like it is a vote based on party lines, it’s because it is. Apparently, your average Repube representative don’t want to protect our elections from foreign interference. We can only surmise it is because they are banking on that interference to help them in 2020.
    • Of course it is one of the 400 bills that #MoscowMitch has assigned to his infamous grave yard of legislation otherwise known as the Committee on Rules and Administration.
  • Call your senators and urge them support the bill, especially if they sit on the committee:
    • Repube Members: Chairperson Roy Blunt (MO), #MoscowMitch (KY), Lamar Alexander (TN), Pat Roberts (KS), Richard Shelby (AL), Ted Cruz (TX), Shelly Capito (WV), Roger Wicker (MS), Deb Fischer (NE), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS)
    • Democrat Members: Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (MN), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Charles Schumer (NY), Richard Durbin (IL), Tom Udall (NM), Mark Warner (VA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV)
    • Independent Member: Angus King (ME)
    • #MoscowMitch: Call him because he determines which bills get brought to the floor for a vote. Let him know how you feel about his dissembling around this issue, but be polite.

S 1328 The Deter Act

  • Sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Il)
  • The Deter Act makes it illegal to enter the country for the express purpose of interfering with an election. You may recall that the Mueller investigation found several instances of Russians entering the country solely to interfere with the election, so it seems important.
  • Current Status: It passed the Senate on 3 June 2019 and has been referred to the House. In the House it was referred to the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship on 26 June 2019.
  • Call your representative and urge them to support the bill, especially if they are a member of the subcommittee:
    • Democratic Members: Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (CA, 19), Vice Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA, 7), J. Luis Correa (CA, 46), Sylva Garcia (TX, 29), Joe Neguse (CO, 2), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL, 26), Veronica Escobar (TX, 16), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX, 18), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA, 5)
    • Repube Members: Rank Member Ken Buck (CO, 4), Andy Biggs (AZ, 5), Tom McClintock (CA, 4), Debbie Lesko (AZ, 8), Kelly Armstrong (ND, 00), W. Gregory Steube (FL, 17)
    • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because she can get the bill to the floor for a vote.

S 1464 The Voting System Cybersecurity Act

  • Sponsor: Sen Gary Peters (D-MI)
  • The Voting System Cybersecurity Act adds a cybersecurity expert from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to the Election Assistance Commission’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee. Hunh? The addition of a cybersecurity expert will help states create more secure voting system guidelines which will make our elections more secure. So simple, it’s genius, no?
  • Current Status: It has been read twice and referred to the infamous Committee on Rules and Administration on 14 May 2019
  • Call your senators and urge them to support the bill, especially if your senator sits on the committee (see the members listed under the Shield Act). And call #MoscowMitch and get him out of the grim reaper business.

S 1356 The Honest Ads Act

  • Sponsor: Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • The Honest Ads Act requires any entity that purchases online political advertisements to make public disclosure of its sponsor. You know, like every other political ad run on all other forms of media in the country.
  • Current Status: It was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration on 7 May 2019.
  • Call your senators and tell them to support the bill, especially if they sit on the committee (members are listed under the Shield Act) and #MoscowMitch to urge him to protect our elections.

Well, those are the bills currently floating around the Congress. Surprisingly many of them have originated in the Senate; unsurprisingly, all of them have met the grim reaper in the Senate. You may have noticed that none of them actually costs much of anything to implement.

In addition, there are other things the US government can help states: (a) we can help them replace aging voting machines and (b) we can require that all electronic voting machines produce a paper ballot to be used for auditing purposes. Those two provisions need to be included in federal law.

The Script

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [PLACE YOU’RE FROM].

I’m calling today in support of [ACT OR ACTS YOU WANT TO SUPPORT]. We must take basic steps to safeguard our elections from foreign interference, especially with Trump’s overt attempts to have foreign governments help him in his reelection campaign.

[ACT OR ACTS YOU ARE SUPPORTING] do not add to the deficit. They require little monetary investment but will help us keep our elections secure from foreign interference.

In addition, please consider writing legislation that will help states replace aging voting machines and require all electronic voting machines to require a paper ballot.

Thank you for your time and attention.

IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: Please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied.

Tips for Calling

When you call your representative’s office, please remember the following:

  • Ask for the aide working on protecting our elections.
  • Be polite! No matter whose office you’re calling. No matter what their positions are. No matter how inflamed you are about impeachment — and you should be very passionate — be polite.
  • Remember that the people you are talking to are people! So, be nice.
  • Call during business hours of the area code their office is in. Typically, that is 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Have a script or notes to follow so you don’t forget anything.
  • Maybe call with friends. You know like a party.

Contacting Your MoC

Find out how to contact your MoC using these links!

  • Common Cause will give you the names, party affiliation, direct phone number, website link, and social media platforms of all of your federal, state, and local elected officials.
  • Call My Congress: Uses your zip code to locate your Congressional Representative and your Senators. And, it returns phone numbers, tweeter handle, party affiliation, voting record, and link to C-Span appearances!
  • 5 Calls: I am sad to report that Call Your Rep is no longer supported, but you can sign-up for 5 Calls which is a service that will help you contact your Congressional representatives and keep you abreast of on going issues that are important to you! Now, that is a good deal.
  • The Capital Hill Switch Board: (202) 224-3121.
  • MassacreMitch and #MoscowMitch: (202) 224-2541. Call him throughout the recess!
  • Nancy Pelosi: Her DC office, (202) 225-4965; her California office, (415) 556-4862

Join Indivisible

Follow the link to Indivisible to find a group near you, their campaigns, events in your neighborhood, and download their handy-dandy booklet!

Image Attribution

The feature image was acquired from Creative Commons Google image search for work that is labeled for reuse with modification. It was produced for Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

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