Should Congress prohibit deceptive practices and voter intimidation for federal elections?
• "The poll watchers are there to watch the process. They're the eyes and ears of the public. They're from Republican Party, Democratic Party. Each candidate can have poll watchers there. That's nothing new. And the poll watchers are there to make sure the rules are followed. The only time -- the only time that they could be allowed to watch a voter is if there's assistance going on and it looks like it might be violating the law." Source: Bryan Hughes (Republican, Texas State Senator)
• "Intentionally misleading or intimidating voters are tactics that have undermined the integrity of American elections for too long. To this day, these practices are used predominantly to disenfranchise minority voters and they must end. The rise of social media has led to even greater proliferation of misinformation, as evidenced during the 2020 election. Our bill would counter such deliberate campaigns, protecting our democracy and the voting rights of all Americans." Source: Senator Ben Cardin (Democrat, Maryland)
• "Our country is stronger when more people participate in our democracy. Yet the freedom to vote is under attack in states across the country, and Congress must act to protect the fundamental rights of Americans. During the 2020 election we once again saw false and misleading information spread with the intent to disenfranchise Americans, especially minorities. Any attempt to deceive and influence voters is undemocratic and erodes confidence in our political system. This bill would ensure that those who seek to undermine the integrity of our elections by deceiving voters face tough consequences." Source: Senator Amy Klobuchar (Democrat, Minnesota)
This bill would prohibit individuals from intentionally deceiving others about the time, location, eligibility, and procedures for voting in a federal election. It also bans those from knowingly hindering or preventing someone from voting, registering to vote, or helping another person vote. This bill allows criminal penalties of fines up to $100,000 or 5 years of imprisonment for individuals practicing voter intimidation. The Attorney General will submit a public report to Congress after each general election listing all allegations received of deceptive practices and voter intimidation. The bill states that voter intimidation through intentionally spreading false information is not protected under the First Amendment. Sponsor: Senator Ben Cardin (Democrat, Maryland)