Washington, D.C. - Today U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the Protect Our Elections Act, which would prohibit foreign adversaries from owning and controlling the companies supporting American elections. Our intelligence chiefs have made it clear that hostile foreign actors continue to work to disrupt our democratic process by any means possible. This common-sense legislation – with public disclosure and annual reporting – is essential in ensuring that our elections are free from foreign influence.
“We know that the Russians were relentless in their efforts to meddle in the 2016 elections, and that those efforts are ongoing,” said Senator Collins. “The Protect Our Elections Act would help strengthen the integrity of our election process and instill confidence among voters by requiring election infrastructure vendors to be owned and controlled by American citizens or our closest allies. The need to act is urgent, and I encourage our colleagues to support this commonsense legislation.”
“Our free and fair elections are central to what makes America’s democracy an example to the world. We cannot allow Russia or any other foreign adversaries to own our election systems. This isn’t just a hypothetical issue – it happened right here in my home state of Maryland,” said Senator Van Hollen. “The bipartisan Protect Our Elections Act would take simple but critical steps to ensure that the nuts and bolts of our elections are secure.”
“Elections are a cornerstone of the rule of law in America and foreign governments will continue to attempt to attack our election systems and work to undermine Americans’ faith in their government and the sanctity of the results of a free and fair election contest,” said Senator Cardin. “All levels of government must therefore implement immediate safeguards to preserve the security and integrity of America’s ballot box, whether it is a paper or electronic ballot.”
The Protection Our Elections Act contains two central provisions: