Rep. McEachin, Ranking Member Nadler Introduces Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Bill

July 26, 2018
Press Release
Bicameral legislation to prohibit deceptive tactics deterring participation in Federal elections

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (NY-10) introduced the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2018 to prohibit individuals from knowingly deceiving others about the time, place, eligibility, or procedures of participating in a federal election.

“With our safe, fair and honest elections under attack from both outside our country and within, this bill is an attempt to codify what we all know should be the law. No person should get away with providing false or misleading information about registering to vote or even voting,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Our democracy depends on the involvement of our citizens and the right to vote is the most basic participation. Protecting voting and the electoral system is a responsibility that falls on all of us. We must all take it seriously and this bill is a step in that direction.”

“Given the growing public concern about the continued attacks on our election system, this legislation, sanctioning deceptive acts intended to deceive voters will give the federal government an important tool in combatting efforts to undermine faith in our democracy,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. “The history of deceptive practices aimed at minority communities alone is more than sufficient justification for action by Congress.  However, when we consider recent evidence of real threats to our elections system from foreign actors, there can be no question that Congress should make election protection an enforcement priority.”

The Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act enacts penalties for individuals who willfully spread misinformation about federal elections for the purpose of deterring an individual from voting.

Senator Claire McCaskill introduced an identical bill in the Senate. Original cosponsors for the House version include Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn as well as Representatives Yvette Clarke, John Lewis, Ben Ray Luján, José E. Serrano, and Frederica S. Wilson.

Bill text is available here and the section-by-section analysis of the legislation is available here.

Background:
The Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act would prohibit disinformation regarding endorsements or an individual’s eligibility to vote, and it would forbid intentional efforts to “hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from voting, registering to vote, or aiding another person to vote or register to vote.” Violators would face a fine of up to $100,000, a prison sentence of up to 5 years, or both. The bill would also empower the Attorney General to take corrective action in the face of disinformation campaigns, and it would enable those affected by such campaigns to seek preventive relief in federal court.

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Contact: Jamitress Bowden
(202) 225-6365