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New Legislation to Strengthen Federal Elections

  • Washington Monument

It’s past time we clean up some issues with our federal elections. That’s why earlier today, I introduced a new bill in the House to help get the ball rolling.

It’s called the “Securing And Verifying Elections in America Act” – and it focuses on five major concerns in federal elections:


Because only U.S. citizens should be voting in our federal elections, this bill will require proof of citizenship (e.g. birth certificate, valid passport, naturalization certificate, etc.) in order to register to vote in federal elections.

Yes, there are some people who have misplaced these documents, but replacing them is rarely an insurmountable problem. Members of Congress can try to help when necessary.


It’s not asking too much to verify who you are before casting a ballot. So this bill will require voters to present a valid, state-issued photo ID in order to vote in-person in federal elections. A copy of the voter's photo ID will be required when voting by other means, including absentee by mail.

This is not a “poll tax” as some will suggest. Most states, including South Carolina, offer free identification cards to U.S. citizens living in their state. Additionally, this legislation carves out exceptions for citizens who have reasonable impediments to obtaining a photo ID.


When any voter moves to a new state and applies for a driver's license or photo ID, the DMV in the new state will be required to ascertain if that individual intends to register to vote in federal elections in his/her new state. If so, the old state's DMV and state election's official shall be notified.


Before each federal election, this bill will require states to check "change of address" data from the United States Postal Service to help identify voters who have moved out of state. It will also require states to work with the Social Security Administration to identify voters who have died since the last federal election.


This legislation will require either (1) verification of the voter's signature by elections officials, or (2) a witness or notary signature for all ballots returned by mail in a federal election.

With the exception of military personnel as well as individuals who have reasonable impediments, this bill will require a voter to attest that he/she will be unable to vote in-person in order to receive and return a ballot by mail in a federal election.

This bill will also increase criminal penalties for mail-in balloting fraud, create a federal hotline to report fraud in federal elections, and establish a federal research program on best practices, security, and procedures for federal elections.


Our Constitution empowers individual states to decide the “times, places, and manner” of their own elections. However, it gives Congress the power to enact overriding legislation for federal elections when necessary. With the wide variety of election policies across the nation, it’s time for Congress to step in with some commonsense requirements for federal elections.

I’m pleased to have several original co-sponsors of this bill in the House, including South Carolina Republicans Rep. Jeff Duncan, Rep. William Timmons, Rep. Tom Rice, and Rep. Joe Wilson.

Bill Text: