U.S. Sen. James Lankford says election security legislation he has touted for months is not dead, despite delays by a Senate committee and mixed messages from the White House. The Secure Elections Act, which was introduced by the Oklahoma City Republican late last year, appeared to be headed for passage this fall. It has attracted a bipartisan following as intelligence officials continue to warn of Russian attempts to hack America’s elections. But last week, the Senate Rules Committee abruptly pulled the bill from consideration and a White House spokesperson suggested it was unnecessary because the Department of Homeland Security already “has all the statutory authority it needs to assist state and local officials” as they seek to ensure their elections are secure.
In remarks to a Yukon chamber luncheon Friday and to reporters after the event, Lankford said the bill still has the support of the Senate and president, blaming “misnomers” and an “inappropriate” comment from the White House for any confusion.
“We had a bipartisan majority that would support it through committee but there were a couple questions from some of the members and individuals that said, ‘Hey, I’ve got one thing I want to be able to look at.’ The decision was made to be able to pull it, try to work that out so we can have a unanimous majority on it, rather than just a bipartisan majority,” Lankford said.