Legislators urge early adoption of bills to protect elections from outside interference
Democratic lawmakers accuse President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of trying to prevent a bill aimed at protecting upcoming elections from outside interference.
Democrats say Trump and McConnell’s efforts leave little time to introduce heightened security measures ahead of the 2020 elections..
“It appears that the Majority Leader, following the White House‘s instructions, has set himself the goal of burying all significant bills,” Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner said Tuesday, wondering why, given a sensible bill, not submitted for consideration.
McConnell declined to respond directly to these allegations. Earlier this month, he accused Democrats of trying to use electoral security to push the party agenda..
“Many of the proposals that Democrats are making as electoral security measures are actually electoral reform that the left is dreaming of,” he said..
Meanwhile, former special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who investigated Russian interference in the 2016 elections, testifies on two congressional committees on Wednesday..
Muller’s report, stating systematic interference in the elections by Russia, did not reconcile Democrats and Republicans, but only sparked new controversy about the findings of the investigation and further actions..
Last month, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed legislation requiring paper ballots at all polling stations. Nearly all Republicans opposed the measure, insisting that paper ballots were more susceptible to fraud..
Several Republican-controlled Senate committees are also involved in electoral security. The Legal Committee approved two bills in May.
Democrats insist that McConnell’s reluctance to put any of these bills to a vote threatens American democracy, since it is not just Russia that may interfere in the election this time. According to the findings of the American intelligence, Russia, China and Iran interfered in the 2018 midterm elections.
FBI Director Christopher Ray warned on Tuesday that Moscow intends to continue its campaign of influencing elections..
Warner and other Democrats on Tuesday pledged to continue pushing for measures to improve election security.
In particular, it is proposed to oblige social networks to provide information about who pays for political advertising, and to introduce mandatory sanctions for any country caught in attempts to interfere in elections..
Another bill obliges candidates and campaign headquarters to notify the FBI when foreign citizens or organizations offer them compromising evidence on opponents.
Security of the November US Presidential Election: Congressional Hearings