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Democrats Propose Bill To Prevent Outside Influence on Future Elections

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This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.

Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation that would allocate more than $1 billion to secure America’s voting systems amid rising concerns of possible interference with the next U.S. election.  Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday, indicating, “We cannot let the Russians laugh about and take joy in the success they had in the last election.”  The Election Security Act would help states when purchasing new voting machines that incorporate paper ballots.

Paper ballots are kind of an odd thing, don’t you think?  It’s 2018, so why are we using paper at all?  Well, according to Pelosi, paper ballots are our best defense against electronic warfare.  Sad, isn’t it?  When I say sad, I find it upsetting that we can’t advance systems from a technology perspective because we’re worried about hackers. I do, however, understand how important this kind of initiative is, in order to protect the country.  But this does make me feel like we are moving backward, rather than forward.

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What’s interesting is that this bill, so far, has no Republican cosponsors.  I’m not really surprised, considering they were the ones who benefitted from the interference in the 2016 election.  Also, the bill would require risk assessments, security staff, and the creation of a $20 million grant for states to perform post-election audits.  That’s a lot of money.  I shouldn’t say that. It’s not technically a lot of money, but at a time when the government can’t always proceed due to the lack of funding, $20 million is a big deal.

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security notified election officials in 21 states that their systems had been targeted by hackers during the 2016 election. Although the Democrats’ legislation seeks to protect US voting systems from cyber attacks, it does not address the idea that there might be issues with the integrity of the election system.  More specifically, a weakness that US intelligence chiefs told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday will remain in the lead-up to November’s mid-term elections.

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Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence told the Senate Committee:

“We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen, and other means to influence, to try to build on its wide range of operations and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States. There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”

Is this something that Congress is likely to support?  That’s hard to say.  On one hand, the answer should be a resounding – of course.  But on the other hand, without outside interference, the Democrats have a good chance of winning.  But, my friends, this is how the political game is played.  I hate to admit it, but this is a classic case of “playing the game”.  What do I mean, exactly?  Well, in a Frank Underwood-style play, the Republicans have themselves in a spot where they can deny this kind of bill from proceeding and continue ruling the roost, for lack of a better term.  I hope that this bill does become law because I think it’s important to embed the principle of transparency into the election process.