Bloomberg unveils plan to shore up election security

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on Friday released a plan to boost voting rights and election security, becoming the latest 2020 presidential candidate to address how votes are counted.

Bloomberg promised to ensure a “regular, reliable federal funding stream” to upgrade and maintain election equipment and said he would require the use of standardized paper ballots counted either by hand or by secure devices.

He also vowed to provide funding to states to conduct audits prior to election certification and would require the Department of Homeland Security to assess cyber threats prior to an election.

Why it matters: Election security is a hot-button issue over the past few years following Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and other candidates have also released plans aimed at securing elections.

Voting rights: In his plan Bloomberg also vowed to enhance voting rights through steps such as reinvigorating enforcement of the Voting Rights Act to stop discriminatory state laws and allowing convicted felons to vote after leaving jail.

He would also launch a federal campaign to educate the public about voting rights, work to prevent partisan gerrymandering, and require that every state provide online and same-day voter registration, along with automatic voter registration the first time a citizen interacts with a state agency.

“The right to vote is the fundamental right that protects all of the others, but in states around the country, it is under attack,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Friday. “That’s a disgrace to our Constitution and an insult to generations of people who fought and marched to win the right to vote. We need to end voter suppression once and for all.”