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Senator Baldwin Joins Effort to Protect Elections from Partisan Interference

Bill would institute new guard rails to insulate state election administration from partisan pressure and empower non-partisan local election officials

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined colleagues in introducing the Preventing Election Subversion Act, legislation to institute new safeguards to insulate state election administration from partisan pressure and empower non-partisan local election officials.

In 2022, state legislators across the country introduced over 150 bills in 27 states that would grant more power to partisan actors to interfere with or threaten election workers or processes. In Wisconsin, state legislators introduced 36 bills that would allow state legislatures to politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections, the most of any state in the country as of April 2022.                                                                  

“Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, we have seen efforts to disrupt the democratic process, undermine the will of the people, and harass local election officials just for doing their jobs,” said Senator Baldwin.  “I’m proud to partner with my colleagues to better safeguard our elections, ensure Wisconsinites’ voices are heard at the ballot box, and protect our democracy.”

Election officials have become the subject of threats and harassment fueled by false allegations of election fraud. Forty-five percent of election workers nationwide say they fear for their colleagues’ safety, and over one in ten say they’re very or somewhat likely to leave before the 2024 elections. The Preventing Election Subversion Act would address these threats by:

  • Limiting arbitrary and unfounded removals of local election officials by permitting removals of local election officials only for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, and provide a federal cause of action to enforce this standard;
  • Allowing a local election official who has responsibility for federal elections and who has been subjected to removal proceedings by a state board of elections to remove that proceeding to federal district court for redress; and
  • Requiring that challenges to a voter’s eligibility to register to vote or to cast a ballot from anyone other than from an election official are supported by personal knowledge with respect to each individual challenged.

“This year alone, we’ve seen 35 states introduce bills that threaten free and fair election administration, including bills allowing partisan interference with local election officials who are just doing their jobs. These shameful attacks undermine the bedrock of our democracy and often target Black and Brown communities. Congress must end these undemocratic state power-grabs that rob Americans of their fundamental right to vote,” said Deirdre Schifeling, National Political Director of the ACLU.

A one-pager on this bill can be found here. Bill text can be found here.