As Americans celebrate Independence Day, it’s worth remembering that the right to vote in free and fair elections stands at the heart of that independence — and that this cherished right is under attack by a hostile foreign power. New revelations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election arrive regularly. Last month came news that Russian hackers had probed the voting networks in 21 states and had executed a cyberattack on a contractor that supplies voting software to states. “They will be back,” former FBI director James Comey warned in congressional testimony. In the face of this threat, the nation’s leaders, at the federal and state levels, have done little to harden defenses against future attacks. For the most part, President Trump has been in denial about Russian meddling, as if acknowledging the problem threatens the legitimacy of his election, and has focused instead on unproven allegations of extensive voter fraud.
While the Senate Intelligence Committee is working to get to the bottom of Russian interference, Congress has done nothing to encourage states or provide money to shore up election security. A smattering of measures has been introduced by House Democrats, but without bipartisan support they’ve gone nowhere.
Even in states where election officials warn that voting equipment is dangerously out of date, legislators refuse to act. In January, the North Dakota House rejected, 78-12, a request for $9 million to upgrade voting machines that election officials warned are on the brink of failing. In Arkansas, a Senate panel rejected using surplus funds to buy new machines. And in Georgia, where researchers discovered a gaping hole in election security last fall, it’s unclear what has been done to plug it. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has argued vehemently against replacing the state’s voting machines, which are susceptible to sabotage because they lack a paper record of votes.
Full Article: On Independence Day, U.S. elections remain vulnerable.