Virtually lost in the give and take of Special Prosecutor Mueller’s July 24th testimony before Congress was his plea that Congress quickly move to protect the election process, warning that election interference activity by Moscow was continuing.
The next day, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued its report detailing Russian hacking, organization of fake U.S. political rallies and use of hundreds of operatives to influence the 2016 election. The report indicated the Russians probably scanned election systems in every state and that there were two instances where local election systems were actually compromised.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to allow action on, or to consider alternatives to, House Bill 1, an election security bill that the House passed last March, suggesting that the Democrats are legislating for “political benefit.”
The Republican attitude might be convincing if they proposed alternative legislation, but after six months of pressure from both inside and outside his party, McConnell has agreed only to appropriate $250 million (about 11 percent of the amount independent sources say is needed). These funds are not even specifically designated for “election security.” Republicans have blocked action on paper-ballot backup, post-election audits or a requirement that campaigns report offers of foreign assistance, all of which have bi-partisan support.
Is the reliability of the election process a partisan issue? Is the loser in an election expected to accept the result if he or she is not assured the votes were counted “fair and square”?