As a voter, I am deeply concerned by Republicans’ continued refusal to upgrade election security. U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that Russian cyberattacks attempted to influence the 2016 election. They also reported successful hacks of voter databases in numerous states, including Illinois, and they warn that Russian interference, from spreading misinformation to changing voter rolls and even altering vote totals, threatens the 2020 presidential election. No one denies this. Such interference undermines our ability to hold free and fair elections.
A survey last month by the Brookings institution found that a majority of Americans want the federal government to provide funding and technical expertise to help states upgrade election security. Democrats in Congress have tried to do just that, proposing legislation that would provide funding for upgrades and backup systems and require candidates to report foreign interference. Yet Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have blocked all four proposed bills, calling attempts to protect election systems “partisan” and “unnecessary.”
We already know that the threat is real and that many current systems have been compromised, while many more remain vulnerable to attacks. It frightens me that half of our government apparently doesn’t think it’s necessary to make sure that our votes are protected.
The fact that McConnell and others are calling election security a “partisan” issue indicates that they don’t care whether foreign hackers compromise our elections — that protecting democracy is really only a concern for Democrats. Shouldn’t it concern all of us?