Several secretaries of state are telling the main backers of a Senate election security bill that the legislation might need tweaks to how it addresses information sharing, state-federal communication channels, funding mechanisms and post-election audits, among other things. The secretaries, who are the top election officials in their states, met with bill sponsors James Lankford, R-Okla., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in person and via phone Monday to discuss the Secure Elections Act. The legislation is intended to bolster election security by smoothing out coordination between the state and federal levels and providing states financial support for operations and equipment upgrades. State secretaries from Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado and New Mexico participated in the meeting.
A spokesperson for Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said that the secretary suggested quicker intelligence reporting to states. Among the ways the Department of Homeland Security is currently coordinating with states is by sponsoring security clearances for state election officials to review information about election security threats. In a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March, DHS cybersecurity official Jeanette Manfra told lawmakers that the department had issued clearances to 21 officials in 19 states.
A DHS spokesperson did not respond to request for comment the current number of clearances. DHS and the Election Assistance Commission would be the point agencies to carry out much of what the bill would offer.