What They’re Saying: Editorial Boards Across The Country Call On Leader McConnell To Act On Election Security

June 24, 2019

Despite repeated warnings from the Intelligence Community about foreign attempts to meddle in our elections, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are refusing to consider any legislation to improve election security. Meanwhile, editorial boards across the country are calling on the Senate to act. Election security is too important to become just another tombstone in Leader McConnell’s legislative graveyard.

USA Today Editorial: 'Grim Reaper' Mitch McConnell Buries Plans To Protect America From Election Interference. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell likes to boast that he's the "grim reaper," bedeviling a chamber where progressive legislation from House Democrats comes to die. Funny guy. But the joke sours fast when the languishing proposals include sensible, bipartisan measures to protect America's elections from another ‘concerted attack,’ like the one special counsel Robert Mueller found was launched by Russia in 2016. … Maybe the Kentucky Republican doesn't want to anger President Donald Trump, who bristles at the suggestion — implicit in election security proposals — that his 2016 victory was in any way tarnished or influenced by anyone other than himself. If that's the case, McConnell's allegiance is sadly misplaced. It should be to the more than 140 million Americans expected to vote in 2020, and to the protection of American democracy itself.” [USA Today, 6/12/19]

Washington Post Editorial: The U.S. Still Hasn’t Done Nearly Enough To Stop Election Interference. “IT IS obvious to all but the willfully ignorant that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. What is less obvious is what this country is going to do about it. So far, the signs have pointed to: not nearly enough. … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continues to block even the consideration of stand-alone legislation that would bolster election security. The refusal to act is dangerous. Though Russia infiltrated voting networks in 2016, there is no evidence any machines were tampered with or votes changed. Next time, we might not be so fortunate.” [Washington Post, 6/11/19]

Deseret News (UT) Editorial:  Mitch McConnell Needs To Allow The Senate To Open For Business.  “McConnell has refused to consider this, saying elections are local government matters, and that Congress already has appropriated money to local governments to help them secure their systems. Also, he believes some of the proposed laws, making foreign interference illegal and requiring a reporting process when such attempts are made, are little more than political efforts to embarrass the president. But why not allow debate on these matters and give senators a chance to go on the record with their votes? Why not let a robust debate expose true motives or perhaps find ways to strengthen local elections without imposing unnecessary mandates?” [Deseret News, 6/24/19]

Racine Journal Times (WI) Editorial:  McConnell Must Not Thwart Bipartisan Election-Security Effort.  “Those bills are steps in the right direction. But there’s a mysterious roadblock in their advancement: The Senate majority leader. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not allowed a vote on any of the election security bills, NBCNews.com reported June 13. This is too important a matter for McConnell to be playing politics, whatever his motivations might be.” [Racine Journal Times, 6/24/19]

St. Louis Dispatch (MO) Editorial: Trump Says He'd Take Foreign Election Help. Where's The GOP's Outrage? “Where does this end? Not with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, certainly. McConnell prevented the Obama administration from publicly warning of Russia interference before the 2016 election, and now he’s burying legislation designed to prevent it from happening again. A few Republicans have issued some self-protective statements stressing that they wouldn’t accept foreign help and would alert the FBI if it was offered. But where is the clear condemnation of a president who would even consider undermining electoral democracy in cahoots with a hostile foreign power in order to win an election?” [St. Louis Dispatch, 6/13/19]

Newark Star-Ledger (NJ) Editorial:  Trump And His Criminal Foreign Help: What Must Happen Next.  “And we need to hear from Mitch McConnell. The gravedigger of American democracy has blocked every bipartisan bill designed to protect election security, because he knows the Trump strategy helped win the White House. Voters must deluge his office with protests to let him know he cannot undermine our electoral system.” [Newark Star-Ledger, 6/17/19]

Baltimore Sun (MD) Editorial: Senator McConnell: Protect U.S. Elections. “Will Senator McConnell really want to find out what history will have to say about those who chose to ignore the well-established risk of election hacking by foreign intelligence agencies? If Mr. McConnell found Mr. Stewart and the 9/11 victims pesky, he hasn’t seen anything yet. The American people won’t look kindly on those who provided the means for hostile foreign governments to manipulate U.S. presidential election results. Perhaps that’s because they believe in democracy. Does the Senate majority leader?” [Baltimore Sun, 6/18/19]

San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Editorial: Yes, Law Should Require FBI Notification Of Foreign Meddling. “Americans should not need to rely on the sound judgment and good ethics of a political campaign to determine whether it alerts the FBI of an attempt by foreign nationals to influence an election. It should be spelled out clearly in law. Regrettably, legislation to impose such mandatory reporting of such offers of foreign assistance was blocked last week in the Republican-controlled Senate. It was yet another example of the lengths to which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and crew will reach to provide cover for President Trump.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/16/19]

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Editorial: Take A Stand For Vigilance And Untainted Elections. “Unfortunately, Congress isn’t acting. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky., refuses to even consider election integrity legislation passed in the House, which is weighing additional legislation. Also going nowhere is a Senate bill that would simply require presidential campaigns to notify the Federal Election Commission if a foreign government offers to help out in some way. That’s alarming. No one should try to gain political advantage by looking the other way when hostile powers try to undermine American independence by tilting our electoral playing field. Americans need to come together in support of our election integrity.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 6/14/19]

Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan (SD) Editorial:  Election Security Must Be A Priority.  “The measure (which is one of several ideas being floated on this pressing issue) is being pushed by Democrats and is backed by a few Republicans; it is facing resistance from other Republicans and, especially, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has declared that the bill, which has passed the House, won’t even get a vote in the Senate. In the wake of what has happened to our election process in recent years (the 2016 attack on the process by Russia was detailed in Robert Mueller’s recent 448-page report on the matter), the refusal by lawmakers — and, in particular, the stonewalling by one powerful senator — to address or even consider the matter is a baffling dereliction of duty.” [Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan, 6/17/19]

Winston Salem Journal (NC) Editorial: Our View: No Russian Election Interference. “So rather than wasting time trying to deny what’s obvious, we should get busy making our elections secure. ‘We’ means everyone, Democrats and Republicans. Too bad that two of the people in a key position to make things happen — or, in this case, keep them from happening — are President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. … McConnell, meanwhile, has long opposed federal regulation of elections, partly because he doesn’t like limits on donations and donors. He apparently doesn’t care that this time, the interference has come from a foreign power that’s not exactly our friend. There’s bipartisan support for several measures that might make elections more secure, but McConnell is blocking action on them all.” [Winston Salem Journal, 6/16/19]

New York Times Editorial: The Mueller Report Sounded the Alarm on Election Attacks. Will Congress Act? “But Mr. Mueller’s findings leave no room for debate about the need to address the legal and institutional deficiencies that allowed a foreign adversary to tamper with America’s democracy. From cyberattacks on state voter systems to disinformation campaigns waged on social media to the hacking of materials belonging to a major political party, Mr. Mueller made plain that the country’s electoral infrastructure remains vulnerable to attack. If the problems are left unaddressed, nothing will stop Russia or other actors from once again undermining free and fair elections in the United States — and they seem to be gearing up to try to do just that.” [New York Times, 6/8/19]

Salt Lake Tribune (UT) Editorial: Republicans Must Stand Against Election Interference. “Even if impeachment is not something that should or will happen in the current circumstance, it is high time for Republicans in Congress to put loyalty to their nation and duty to their branch of government ahead of blind partisanship. Otherwise, the future usefulness of the Republican Party as either a governing majority or a credible counter-balance to a future Democratic administration is questionable at best.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 6/16/19]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) Editorial: Safety At The Polls: Election Security Must Be Ensured At All Levels. “With the recent confirmation that election records from two Florida counties were hacked by the Russians in 2016, the Trump administration and all 50 secretaries of state need to ensure election security for the 2020 general elections. … All states and counties should get behind an election security campaign. One idea is to have Homeland Security issue certificates to states and counties that have undergone reviews for cybersecurity. Those that haven’t gotten it done should be forced to do so, and then make the necessary changes to have a cyber-secure election. It will be unacceptable to learn after the 2020 election that foreign or domestic hackers were successful at meddling with the records and equipment that voters rely on.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/21/19]

Mail Tribune (OR) Editorial: Election Security Bill Is Long Overdue. “There are wide differences of opinion over the Mueller report and what it says or does not say about President Donald Trump. Congress is sorting through that now. But regardless of the president’s involvement, there can be no debate that Russia did, in fact, breach election systems in this country in 2016, and can be expected to do so again if nothing is done to prevent it. … The fact that no vote totals were changed is not an excuse for complacency, nor for refusing to strengthen the security of our voting systems before the next federal election. A bill introduced last week in the U.S. Senate would do just that, primarily by requiring all states to use paper ballots, as Oregon does, in national elections.” [Mail Tribune, 5/21/19]

Bangor Daily News (ME) Editorial: ‘That Allegation Deserves The Attention Of Every American’: Politicians Need To Do More To Protect Voters. “The real takeaway, as Mueller emphasized last week, should be the demonstrable threat we faced and continue to face from foreign actors trying to meddle in our elections. We don’t have to look very hard at our current state of affairs, marked by misinformation, confusion and extreme polarization, to know that effort has at least been partially successful, even when there’s no evidence of actual votes being changed. ‘It’s stuff that doesn’t percolate up to the level of national attention,’ acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday on ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘But our Department of Justice, our [Department of Homeland Security], have been working with states and local governments to make sure that no foreign government, Russia or anybody, has the ability to do, what in 2020, what they did in 2016.’ That’s a good quote, but if the administration and Republican leadership are in fact committed to protecting us from future interference, they will put politics and presidential egos aside to work on legislation that can further help safeguard our elections while respecting the primary role and authority that states have in the process.” [Bangor Daily News, 6/3/19]