The Obama administration pulled a last minute move to designate state elections systems as “critical infrastructure,” via a Department of Homeland Security directive — a move that would federalize elections.
Fortunately, all fifty state secretaries of state stood up and said no to this huge overreach by urging the Trump administration to do away with it.
Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson made the disturbing move on Jan. 6 on the wave of the Obama administration and the Left’s propaganda campaign on supposed Russian hacking during the 2016 election.
Johnson’s official proclamation on the matter was truly chilling. He said: “I have determined that election infrastructure in this country should be designated as a subsector of the existing Government Facilities critical infrastructure sector.”
The Daily Caller reported:
He broadly put all state election facilities under the federal “critical infrastructure” purview. His designation would affect all state-operated polling places, centralized vote tabulations location, election storage facilities and IT systems holding voter registration databases.
He also angered state officials because the federal designation would exempt future election activities from public access via the Freedom of Information Act or from state open record laws.
The new DHS Secretary, John Kelly, discussed the move to federalize elections in his written testimony before his confirmation:
“The notion that DHS can or should exercise some degree of influence over state voting systems is highly controversial and appears to be a political question beyond the scope of DHS’ current legislative cyber mandates.”
The Daily Caller continued:
The National Association of Secretaries of State, which represent secretaries in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa, is planning to take up the DHS action at its next full meeting. It is scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., in mid-February.
Association president Denise Merrill, who also serves as the secretary of state for Connecticut, told TheDCNF in an interview, “I’m certain this will be a hot topic among all of us.”
Merrill confirmed the association and many secretaries of state have been in touch with Trump transition staff seeking revocation.
“I haven’t heard one Secretary of State — Democrat or Republican — that’s for this,” she said. Merrill is a Democrat.
“This [is] something that came out of the blue,” Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in an interview with TheDCNF. “They had never talked to any Secretaries of State or election officials around the country before the whole critical infrastructure designation came up. We were literally blindsided by this.”
“Suddenly, it was decided that they were going ahead with it and we didn’t get any notice and read about it in the paper,” Merrill said. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some concern about it. It’s not a particularly partisan issue at this point.”
The association described the designation as, “legally and historically unprecedented and raised questions for states and local governments about administration of the voting process.”
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