Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., waves before the primary debate Wednesday.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., waves before the primary debate Wednesday. John Bazemore / AP

Presidential Candidate Klobuchar Would Reform Election-Related Agencies

The Democratic senator and 2020 contender has been an election reform advocate in Congress and the few times the topic has come up during the primary debates.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has released a plan that includes reforms to the two federal elections-related agencies. She has been a vocal advocate in Congress for shoring up election security, and also pushed for changes during Wednesday’s primary debate.

“Everything we talk about getting done—from taking on climate change to gun safety to health care reform—will depend on one thing: a democracy that works for the people and making sure every vote counts,” said the plan unveiled Nov. 18. “Our intelligence agencies have confirmed time and time again that there have been foreign attacks on our elections, and that our elections remain a target. Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly blocked Senator Klobuchar’s bipartisan legislation to strengthen our election security.” 

If elected president, Klobuchar plans to reform the Federal Election Commission, which enforces the nation’s campaign finance laws. Her plan includes “reducing the number of members from six to five, ensuring the commission has an accountable chair with clear distribution of duties between the chair and the FEC, and preventing commissioners from remaining in office indefinitely as holdovers.” The current FEC lacks a quorum and, therefore, lost the ability to do most of its business. The three remaining commissioners’ terms have expired, but they have been waiting for new appointees before they leave. Additionally, Democratic Chair Ellen Weintraub and Republican Commissioner Caroline Hunter have been publically sparring

Klobuchar’s plan also includes reforms to the Election Assistance Commission, the nation’s elections clearinghouse that has been understaffed and underfunded over the years as its responsibilities have become more important with Russia’s election interference attempts. 

Based on the legislation she’s leading in the Senate, if elected Klobuchar would “require states to use paper ballots, set strong cybersecurity standards for voting infrastructure, increase grants to states for upgrades to their voting infrastructure and promote the use of post-election risk-limiting audits.” These are all things election security advocates have been calling for, but the EAC has limited authority to implement such requirements.

Klobuchar would also mandate that the Director of National Intelligence work with the Homeland Security Department and EAC to assist states to counter foreign interference threats. Since elections are run by state and local governments, the federal government is limited in what it can do beyond voluntary services.

The 2020 candidate’s democracy reform plan also includes: issuing an executive order to streamline the procurement of information technology, creating a Cabinet-level task force to coordinate election cybersecurity efforts among agencies and establishing a bipartisan redistricting commission to end partisan gerrymandering. 

During the fifth Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday night hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post in Atlanta, Klobuchar touted her experience working on election security since she came to the Senate. 

“I think this kind of experience matters,” she said in response to South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s proposals. “I have been devoted to this from the time that I've got to the Senate. I think having that experience, knowing how you can get things done, leading the bills to take the social media companies to task, a bipartisan bill to say, ‘Yeah, you have to say where these ads come from and how they're paid for’ and stop the unbelievable practice where we still have 11 states that don't have backup paper ballots. That is my bipartisan bill. And I am so close to getting it done. And the way I get it done is if I'm president.”

These issues often don’t come up in debates because they are still seen as “niche issues” by the mainstream media and for Democrats, election security is “not a differentiator,” said Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics.

“Unfortunately, this isn't the first time we’ve seen a lack of attention on election system security from the moderators,” said Susan Greenhalgh, vice president of policy and programs at the National Election Defense Coalition.

Lawrence Norden, director of Election Reform at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, told Government Executive, “I’m hoping that the sixth Democratic presidential debate includes a question specific to election security. American voters need to know where the candidates stand on protecting our elections.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.