by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
State officials across the nation are fighting former President Barack Obama’s last-minute decision to impose federal authority over state-run election systems, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), which includes officials from all 50 states and U.S. territories, appealed to President Donald Trump in a resolution approved Saturday at the group’s winter meeting to overturn the Obama policy, but doing so may encounter unexpected resistance from the new administration.
Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jan. 6, 2017, to classify local and state election systems under the new federal designation of “critical infrastructure.”
By a voice vote, the NASS declared that it “opposes the designation of elections as critical infrastructure,” with opposition cutting across party lines. The NASS includes 33 Republicans, 21 Democrats and one independent.
Election authority falls under secretaries of state in most states, but some states give the authority to their lieutenant governors. All were in attendance at the winter meeting.
The Obama administration took state officials by surprise when only day before leaving office, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced he was permitting state and local election machinery to be placed under his federal cybersecurity program. Many state officials denounced the action.