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No new legislative momentum after election security briefings

Niels Lesniewski, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

"I think we'd all like to see every state move toward a paper ballot backup system where you'd have some piece of paper to count, if there was any question about the election count itself," he told reporters after the briefing.

Blunt said there are about a half dozen states that still don't have that kind of backup. He said that trying to transition those states to a new system before the 2020 election would be hard to do, but asserted it as a goal for the 2022 midterm elections.

"Federalization of the process, would I think add an extra level of confusion rather than an extra level of protection," Blunt said.

Briefers Wednesday included acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Senators were given a classified briefing shortly after a similar session in the House.

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson told reporters after the first briefing that lawmakers were assured elections systems are secured for the upcoming 2020 contest and relevant agencies have what they need.

"At this point, we've been told there the resources are available to secure the 2020 election," the Mississippi Democrat said. "We were assured that as we go into a more formal part of the elections season, our systems at this point are secure."

 

Thompson didn't count out the possibility that more resources might be needed to secure elections, but said additional funding requests were not made during the briefing.

"They were quite clear that we have the resources. If there's something we will need to secure the elections they'll come back to Congress with the request," Thompson told reporters.

After the Senate briefing, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy said more funding may still be needed.

"There's a lot of smart people in that room. I think we have a president who's actively undermining election security efforts and a lot of people working at the top of these agencies who are trying to do the right thing," he said.

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