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H.R. 5274 (115th): Global Electoral Exchange Act

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 14, 2018 (Introduced).


I

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5274

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 14, 2018

(for himself, Mr. Meadows, Mr. Price of North Carolina, and Mr. Roskam) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To promote international exchanges on best election practices, cultivate more secure democratic institutions around the world, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Global Electoral Exchange Act.

2.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

recent elections globally have illustrated the urgent need for the promotion and exchange of international best election practices, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, results transmission, transparency of electoral data, election dispute resolution, and the elimination of discriminatory registration practices and other electoral irregularities;

(2)

the advancement of democracy worldwide promotes American interests, as stable democracies provide new market opportunities, improve global health outcomes, and promote economic freedom and regional security;

(3)

credible elections are the cornerstone of a healthy democracy and enable all persons to exercise their basic human right to have a say in how they are governed;

(4)

inclusive elections strengthen the credibility and stability of democracies more broadly, as democratic institutions flourish when representative of all groups of society;

(5)

at the heart of a strong election cycle is the professionalism of the election management body and an empowered civil society; and

(6)

the development of local expertise via peer-to-peer learning and exchanges promotes the independence of such bodies from internal and external influence.

3.

Global Electoral Exchange

(a)

Global Electoral Exchange

The Secretary of State shall establish and administer a Global Electoral Exchange Program to promote the utilization of sound election administration practices in the United States and foreign countries.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of the Global Electoral Exchange Program described in subsection (a) shall include the promotion and exchange of international best election practices, including in the areas of cybersecurity, results transmission, transparency of electoral data, election dispute resolution, the elimination of discriminatory registration practices and electoral irregularities, and other sound election administration practices.

(c)

Exchange of electoral authorities

(1)

In general

The Secretary of State may, in consultation, as appropriate, with the United States Agency for International Development and regionally focused independent agencies, make grants to any United States-based organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code with experience in comparative election systems or subject matter expertise in the areas of election administration or electoral integrity that submits an application in such form, and satisfying such requirements, as the Secretary may require.

(2)

Types of grants

An organization described in paragraph (1) may receive a grant for one or more of the following purposes:

(A)

To design and implement programs bringing election administrators and officials, including government officials, polling workers, civil society representatives, members of the judiciary, and others who participate in the organization and administration of an election in a foreign country to the United States to study election procedures in the United States for educational purposes.

(B)

To design and implement programs taking United States or another country’s election administrators and officials, including government officials, polling workers, civil society representatives, members of the judiciary, and others who participate in the organization and administration of elections for public office in the United States or such other countries to foreign countries to study election procedures in such countries for educational purposes.

(3)

Coordination

The Secretary of State shall coordinate with State and local governments in the United States, in addition to the governments of United States territories, to conduct exchanges under this section and may enter into memorandums of understanding with such governments to guide participation by such governments in the Global Electoral Exchange Program.

(4)

Limits on activities

Activities administered under the Global Electoral Exchange Program may not—

(A)

include election observation for the purposes of discussing the validity or legitimacy of an election; or

(B)

facilitate any advocacy for a certain electoral result by a grantee when participating in the Program.

(5)

Further limits

A recipient of a grant under the Global Electoral Exchange Program may use such grant for only the purpose for which such grant was awarded, unless otherwise authorized by the Secretary of State.

(6)

Not duplicative

Grants made under this subsection may not be duplicative of any other grants made under any other provision of law for similar or related purposes.

4.

Report

(a)

Internet

The Secretary of State shall maintain a publically available Department of State website detailing the Global Electoral Exchange Program, including a list of grants awarded under the Program and the amount awarded in each such grant, each annual report required under subsection (c), and other information at the discretion of the Secretary.

(b)

Notification of grants

Not later than 30 days after each grant award under the Global Electoral Exchange Program under section 3, the Secretary of State shall publish on the website described in subsection (a) a summary of such grant, including criteria for selecting the grantee and any relevant agreements between the Secretary of State and foreign governments, State and local governments in the United States, or the governments of United States territories that are associated with such grant. The Secretary shall notify the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate of such publication.

(c)

Annual reports

(1)

In general

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act and every year thereafter, the Secretary of State shall publish on the website described in subsection (a) a report on the Global Electoral Exchange Program and notify the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate of such report.

(2)

Elements

The reports required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A)

A summary of all exchanges conducted under the Global Electoral Exchange Program, including criteria used to select grantees.

(B)

A summary of all memorandum of understandings with States, local governments, and territories in accordance with section 3(c)(3).

(d)

Annual recommendations

In conjunction with the annual reports required under subsection (c), the Secretary of State may provide recommendations for the improvement of the Global Electoral Exchange Program, based on the purposes under section 3(b), in a written report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.