The 2016 presidential election made clear how vulnerable our democracy is to cyberattacks and election interference — and hostile foreign governments will do it again in 2020 unless we act. The Mueller report outlined in stark terms how the Russian government interfered in our democracy to sow disunity and infiltrate election systems in multiple states. His findings were reinforced by a recent report from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which concluded that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in the 2016 election. Mueller’s investigation led to seven guilty pleas and convictions as well as 37 indictments, many of which were criminal indictments against Russian nationals charged with meddling in the 2016 elections. But these charges will not safeguard against future attacks.
What we need is adequate funding to secure our elections. Protecting our elections should be a bipartisan issue, but in spite of the startling threats to our elections laid out in the Mueller report, Senate Republicans have not yet supported critical election security funding.
Congress must act before it’s too late. Tell the Senate to follow the House of Representatives’ lead and pass $600 million in election security funding now. Americans deserve safe and secure elections:
Protecting Elections with Paper Ballots
The House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 3351: a 2020 appropriations bill that allocates $600 million for states to enhance election security to prevent cyber attacks and foreign interference. Specifically, the money would help states replace vulnerable electronic voting machines with systems that use voter-verified paper ballots. Even sophisticated electronic systems can be targeted and hacked, which is why creating a paper trail during an election is one of the most effective ways to audit vote counts, detect foul play, and prevent hackers from affecting the outcome of an election.
What’s at Stake in 2020
Trump’s welcoming of foreign interference creates unique urgency for election security funding. In 2016, Trump encouraged Russia to attack our democracy. Earlier this year, Trump said that he is willing to accept foreign help again in the 2020 election, and he wouldn’t necessarily tell the FBI if a foreign government contacts him with damaging information about his 2020 opponent. That’s not only illegal — it’s an open invitation for Russia to interfere in our elections all over again.
From the Mueller report, we know that the Russian government carried out a systematic campaign to hack state board of elections and voting machine companies. Russian agents injected computer viruses on state and local election office websites to extract information from their underlying databases. They also installed malware into the network of a private company that develops the software that manages much of America’s voter rolls.
If Congress doesn’t do everything in its power to safeguard our elections, then they are willfully turning a blind eye to the gaping vulnerabilities in our election systems. It’s time for Senate Republicans to choose the American people over their party and heed Mueller’s warnings about the ongoing threats to our elections. We must stand up to protect the foundation of our democracy — free and fair elections.