In floor debate today on the rule for consideration of H.R. 1, a Democrat bill that claims to reform elections, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas spoke out against the bill and the underlying process.
Although provisions of H.R. 1 fall under the jurisdiction of Science, Space, and Technology, the Committee was not given the opportunity to work towards bipartisan solutions that would support the work of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on election security and accuracy.
NIST provided feedback to the Committee with constructive technical corrections along with concerns that H.R. 1 will increase election system vulnerability.
In a letter submitted for the Congressional Record, Paul Ziriax, Secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board, raised a a number of concerns about how H.R. 1 would weaken Oklahoma's election systems. Oklahoma is recognized for having one of the most secure, fair, fast, and accurate election systems in the world and Ziriax listed specific examples of how H.R. 1 would slow this process, hinder the state's ability to process voter registration, and increase the chances of error and fraud. These concerns underscore the importance of considering these policies in a bipartisan process, under regular order, with recognition of the diversity of states' election processes.
The full text of Lucas' remarks follows:
I rise in opposition to the Resolution for consideration of H.R. 1.
H.R. 1 includes provisions that fall under the jurisdiction of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, of which I am Ranking Member.
Buried in this 600-page bill are requirements that would greatly expand the role of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in election security.
NIST is an important agency under our Committee’s jurisdiction. NIST also plays an important, non-regulatory role, providing guidance to our State and Local Governments to help ensure that elections results are secure and accurate.
Keeping our elections safe from cyber-attacks and fraud is not a partisan priority.
Unlike other more partisan parts of H.R. 1, I believe that if we had been given an opportunity, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and I may have been able to come to an agreement on bipartisan legislation to update NIST’s election security activities.
However, the Democrat leadership has rushed this legislation to the Floor without giving our Committee an opportunity to hold even a single hearing on the bill.
NIST provided our Committee staff with two pages of constructive technical corrections and feedback on H.R. 1. The feedback makes it clear that the bill was written by folks who don’t understand how election technology systems work.
NIST also pointed to new mandates that will have a significant negative impact on their ability to work collaboratively with State and Local Governments to identify standards and best practices.
Not one of NIST’s concerns has been addressed in the bill coming to the floor today.
Instead of strengthening America’s election security, H.R. 1 weakens the voting system of the American people. The bill increases election system vulnerability and fails to implement the necessary checks and balances regarding who is registering to vote.
In January, Democrats promised to “restore the people’s voice” by providing a more accommodating legislative process.
But it’s only March and not only are the Democrats abandoning any attempt to have a productive legislative process, but they’re also undermining the very elections that give Americans a voice.
I urge my colleagues to oppose the rule and oppose the underlying bill.