WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Co-Chair of both the Task Force on Strengthening Democracy continues to lead the effort to strengthen our democracy and protect voting rights. On Thursday, Congresswoman Williams and her Congressional Task force for Strengthening Democracy Co-Chair John Sarbanes (MD-03) led a group of House colleagues in reintroducing the Preventing Election Subversion Act, bicameral legislation that would institute new safeguards to protect state election administration from partisan pressure and empower non-partisan local election officials. The lawmakers were joined by Representatives Joe Morelle (NY-25) and Colin Allred (TX-32) in introducing the Preventing Election Subversion Act. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) led the introduction of companion legislation in the Senate.
The Preventing Election Subversion Act addresses partisan state officials’ attempts to interfere with local election boards, which has continued to fuel election denialism and harassment against local election officials. Additionally, the announcement comes a week after Representatives Williams and Sarbanes were joined by their colleagues in reintroducing the landmark H.R. 11/S.1, the Freedom to Vote Act. This comprehensive package to strengthen our democracy includes the Preventing Election Subversion Act alongside its other reforms to ensure all Americans can cast their ballots in the way that works best for them, regardless of what zip code they live in, prevent the harassment of poll workers and election judges, and end the dominance of dark money in our politics.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) Co-Chair of both the Task Force on Strengthening Democracy and Congressional Voting Rights Caucus said:
“Republicans passed laws to make Georgia ground zero for election subversion. Now, Congressional Republicans are pushing legislation based on Georgia’s laws. These election subversion tactics seek the same results: to suppress the votes of people of color and those most marginalized. With the Preventing the Election Subversion Act we can stop these bad actors and help ensure everyone has free and fair access to the ballot box–no matter their ZIP Code, no matter their bank account.”
“Protecting the independence and safety of local election officials is vital to the integrity of our democratic processes,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “We cannot allow efforts to interfere with elections threaten election worker safety or undermine Americans’ confidence that their votes will count. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation alongside Senator Reverend Warnock to help fight back against attempts to undermine election administration and protect voters’ right to cast their ballots free from intimidation.”
“The dedication and service of our election workers and volunteers is what makes our elections possible,” said Congressman Allred. “We must act to strengthen our elections from malicious, partisan actors looking to use intimidation and misinformation to influence our elections. Free and fair elections are paramount to the survival of our democracy, and this bill takes important steps to protect our elections from partisan influence.”
“The relentless attacks on our democracy are an attempt to weaken and undermine one of the cornerstones of our nation, the sacred right to vote. Extreme MAGA Republicans are passing bills in states that allow partisan interference in the counting and casting of ballots. I’m proud to join Representative Sarbanes and Senator Warnock on this critical piece of legislation,” said House Administration Ranking Member Morelle.
“We cannot allow bad actors to be able to subvert elections through anti-democratic tactics like mass voter challenges or cynically taking over local election boards to usurp the local community’s will and squeeze the people’s voices out of their own government,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I’m proud to be introducing the Preventing Election Subversion Act. This legislation will protect local election administration from partisan interference by bad-faith actors and combat the baseless mass challenges that our already over-worked election officials have had to address in recent years. If we are serious about election integrity in our country, we should pass this bill as soon as possible.”
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 more than one in ten say they’re very or somewhat likely to leave before the 2024 elections. The Preventing Election Subversion Act will 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 an election official are supported by personal knowledge in respect to each individual challenged.
The Preventing Election Subversion Act is endorsed by Fair Fight Action; American Civil Liberties Union; Black Voters Matter; The King Center; National Domestic Workers Alliance; Care in Action; SPLC Action Fund; End Citizens United//Let America Vote; League of Women Voters; Interfaith Alliance; League of Conservation Voters; Common Cause; People For the American Way; Greenpeace USA; Interfaith Power and Light; and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.