The U.S. Senate must act to protect the 2020 elections from interference, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and attorneys general from 21 states said in a letter to key U.S. Senate committee chairs this week.
The U.S. House has passed election protections. Following Donald Trump’s statement to ABC News last week that he would accept information on political opponents from foreign governments, the U.S. House is planning to move more election security measures in coming days.
“Michigan Attorney General Nessel has been a vocal proponent of ensuring a secure and fair election system free from interference from any individual or foreign power,” Nessel spokesman Dan Olson told the Advance. “The multi-state letter she joined expresses significant concerns as it relates to the persistent threats our election system faces and urges Congress to promptly take action ahead of the 2020 elections.”
Olson noted that “while the state has taken some preventative measures, the attorney general believes there is more that can be done nationwide to safeguard our election infrastructure and restore trust in our system.”
However, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has dismissed such election security legislation, tarring virtually everything supported by Democrats as “socialism” and embracing the nickname “Grim Reaper,” a nod to his commitment to kill any legislation passed in the U.S. House by refusing to allow it to be voted on in the Senate.
In their letter on Tuesday, the attorneys general wrote, “Intelligence officials and the Department of Justice continue to warn that our election systems have been a target for foreign adversaries and that those same adversaries are currently working to undermine the upcoming elections.
“The Special Counsel’s Report concludes that Russia interfered in our elections in a ‘sweeping and systematic fashion,’” the letter continues. “Russia successfully breached election systems in Florida and the Department of Homeland Security is reviewing computers used in North Carolina after the state experienced irregularities on Election Day. In addition, documents leaked by the National Security Agency show that hackers working for Russian military intelligence installed malware on a voting systems software company used in eight states.”
The AGs ask for additional election security funding for states and localities to upgrade election equipment, systems and databases. They also want the establishment of cybersecurity and audit standards for election systems.
And they reiterate support for the Secure Elections Act, bipartisan U.S. Senate legislation that was first introduced in 2017 that would help states get rid of paperless voting and mandate improved audits of elections results.