Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ11), who represents Verona in Congress, voted Wednesday for the SHIELD Act (Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy Act), which included her amendment to strengthen protections against efforts to mislead or deceive voters. The SHIELD Act (H.R. 4617) bars such disinformation operations within 60 days of a federal election. Sherrill’s amendment extends that to 90 days to better protect early voting states like New Jersey. This comprehensive legislation will strengthen the resilience of our democracy to prevent foreign interference in our elections and defend the integrity of voting systems. The SHIELD Act passed in the House 227-181.
“As a proud representative of the great state of New Jersey, I will always defend our right as Americans to have a spirited debate,” said Sherrill. “That is what our democracy is all about. It is essential that we stand together as Americans to strengthen our laws and to ensure that our foreign adversaries are not able to dictate the outcomes of our elections.”
Sherrill’s amendment expands the provisions in the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Act from 60 days before an election to 90 days. This includes knowingly providing false information about the time or place of voting, what qualifications a voter must have in order to vote, or public endorsements of candidates.
Sherrill continued: “In New Jersey, early voting can occur up to 45 days before an election. In fact, 39 states across the country have some form of early voting. This critical amendment extends protections and prohibits disinformation before any American casts their ballot.”
“From her first day in office, Sherrill has been committed to protecting our democracy from foreign interference and ensuring her constituents will have their voices heard in our elections,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United Action Fund. “Rep. Sherrill’s amendment to the SHIELD Act strengthens the bill by making it harder to suppress the vote through providing false information about voting practices.”
The SHIELD Act:
- Requires political campaigns, parties, and political committees like PACs and Super PACs to report attempts by foreign governments, foreign political parties, and their agents to influence our elections to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- Improves transparency of online political advertisements by ensuring political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.
- Prohibits foreign nationals from participating in decision-making about contributions or expenditures by corporations, PACs, Super PACs, and other entities and closes other avenues of foreign spending to influence elections, including digital advertising.
- Closes the gap in current law by deeming the offering of non-public campaign material to foreign governments and those linked with foreign governments and their agents as an illegal solicitation of support.
- Incorporates the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act to prohibit anyone from providing false information about voting rules and qualifications for voting and establishes strong penalties for voter intimidation.
UPDATE: Republican senators again blocked this election security bill, and two others.