A Senate committee on Wednesday abruptly postponed the planned markup of a key election security bill that had bipartisan support and would have imposed new audit requirements on states. The markup of the Secure Elections Act, authored by Oklahoma Republican James Lankford and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, is “postponed until further notice,” the Senate Rules and Administration Committee said on its website. The bill had the backing of several GOP lawmakers, including Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as well as Democrats such as Mark Warner of Virginia, Kamala Harris of California and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. But a senior Republican lawmaker, Sen. Richard C. Shelby, objected to the bill’s provisions expanding the federal role in elections.
“I have problems with that,” the Alabama senator said. “My problem is that heretofore, for the most part, the states and the counties and some local governments have funded and taken control and run the ballot box, so to speak, state-by-state.”
Shelby sits on the Rules panel and is the former chairman. He is the current chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
“This is a big step for the federal government moving in,” Shelby said, before emphasizing that criticism of additional federal involvement was not an expression of opposition to enhancing security. “We’re all concerned about the integrity of the ballot box,” he told reporters.
A committee aide said there’s not yet enough broad support among the GOP to get the bill to the floor.