In-Depth: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to authorize the Secretary of State to administer exchange programs for electoral authorities with overseas partners, promote best election security practices, and strengthen democratic institutions abroad:
“We’ve seen in all pockets of the world how insecure electoral mechanisms can lead to deadly violence and tainted election results. That’s why the United States should assist democracies abroad in designing and preserving strong electoral institutions. This supports their quest for an inclusive society based on the principles of democracy. The Global Electoral Exchange Act seeks to help the United States share our best election security practices abroad, which in turn will strengthen democracy worldwide and advance bipartisan U.S. national security interests abroad. Free and fair elections indicate democracy health, and I’m glad to lead this legislative effort that will help improve global security and promote democratic institutions.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) adds:
“Fair, trustworthy, and accountable elections are critical to defending democracy among our international partners—and they are fundamental to who we are as a nation. America is equipped with the needed expertise to bolster good governance and freedom in the world’s democracies, making the world safer for Americans and bolstering our national security. Under this bipartisan bill, American election administrators and experts will be better able to share sound election administration practices abroad, helping to prevent the rampant violence that all too often follows poorly-run, unfree elections. Anything we as a nation can do to promote healthy and secure election practices in other countries is a welcome development."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), sponsor of this bill's Senate companion, says:
"Our election systems—and those of our allies—have become a target for foreign adversaries. Safeguarding our democracies must be a priority for us all. This bipartisan legislation will allow the State Department to work with our allies abroad to share information, discuss best practices, and combat the growing threat of election interference around the world.”
Last Congress, Rep. Castro introduced this bill to establish a cooperative relationship with other democratic nations around the world in order to foster better, stronger democracies.
“Free and fair elections are one of the best litmus tests for healthy democracy. While the United States sustains focus on our own election security, it is also important for us to work with international partners sharing best practices to ensure elections are credible, accurate and transparent. That’s why I introduced the Global Electoral Exchange Act, which promotes international exchanges on best election practices and cultivates more secure democratic institutions around the world. Such objectives fit squarely within the U.S. national interest to advance democracy worldwide, by providing new market opportunities, improving global outcomes, and promoting economic freedom and regional security.”
This bill passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee by voice vote with the support of four bipartisan House cosponsors, including three Democrats and one Republican. A Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), has one cosponsor, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK).
Last Congress, this bill passed the House by voice vote with the bipartisan support of nine cosponsors, including six Democrats and three Republicans. A Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Klobuchar, had one cosponsor, Sen. Sullivan, and didn't see committee action.
Summary by Lucas McConnell
(Photo Credit: iStock / YinYang)