WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, presented a package of bills Friday to increase election security in the United States.

It includes a bill requiring all states to use paper ballots or machines that produce a voter-verifiable paper audit trail.

“New Jersey does not have a paper backup” on its voting machines, said Van Drew, co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition’s National Security Task Force, “and I believe that is dangerous and really has to be corrected.”

The group rounded up 11 bills that have already been introduced in Congress into a package they recommend for passage, in response to the conclusions in Volume I of the Mueller Report regarding Russia’s attack against the U.S. political system and attempts to interfere in the 2016 election, Van Drew said.

Van Drew is a co-sponsor of some of the bills.

The Blue Dog Coalition is a group of moderate Democrats in Congress who focus on fiscal responsibility and national security, according to Van Drew’s office.

The package includes bills requiring political ads sold online to abide by the same transparency and disclosure rules as political ads sold on television, radio, and satellite; and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to regularly assess the threat of election interference, and to inform Congress and state election officials on their findings.

Some changes could be put in place in time for the 2020 presidential election, while others would take longer, Van Drew said.

The Blue Dogs are also proposing that Congress close several legal loopholes to keep foreign entities from participating in the U.S. electoral process, and create a new criminal violation for anyone who knowingly targets critical U.S. infrastructure, including election infrastructure.

Finally, the Blue Dogs are calling on Congress to pass more hard-hitting measures against Russia in retaliation for its attempts to meddle in the 2016 and 2018 elections, and to aggressively prevent future interference attempts by Russia and other adversaries, such as China, Iran and North Korea.

The bills endorsed by the coalition have earned bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, Van Drew said.

“We need to do everything in our power to assure the American people that the election system is secured and that outside forces will not interfere,” Van Drew said. “The next elections are quickly approaching. The time for action is now.”

Contact: 609-272-7219 mpost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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