WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, has reintroduced the Protect American Election Administration Act that he said will protect states’ rights to govern election processes.
If enacted, the legislation would block the private takeover of government election administration, protect individual states’ voting laws, prevent private funding for ballot harvesting or curing, and prevent the use of election infrastructure to conduct ideologically motivated voter outreach campaigns.
“When Americans go to the ballot box, they should have full confidence in the election systems that are the bedrock of our great republic,” Cole said in a press release. “After a tumultuous 2020 election cycle and as we enter the 2024 presidential election cycle, it is clear that this confidence has taken a hit. The Protect American Election Administration Act would prevent political agendas funded by private dollars from interfering with individual states’ non-partisan voting processes and ensure Americans have the confidence that their vote truly counts.”
The law specifies a state may not solicit, receive or expend payment or donation of funds, property, or personal services from a private entity for the purpose of the administration of an election for federal office. That would include any programs for voter education, outreach or registration. It would exclude a state’s use of a donation from a private entity of space to be used for a polling place or an early voting site.
Cole said that during the 2020 election, election administration in the U.S. was politically influenced because of multi-millions in private spending by private individuals with political agendas. He said the funds spent by may election administrative offices were used to implement insecure voting methods, harvest or cure ballots, and conduct extensive outreach campaigns to benefit the donors’ preferred candidates. He said the funds were targeted in Democratic counties to increase turnout in areas that would benefit Democratic candidates.