Last week former special counsel Robert Mueller gave testimony that advised that Russians were indeed attempting to interfere and influence the 2020 presidential elections, saying it was happening even “as we sit here.”, Just one day later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell killed two bills that would have ensured voting security.
McConnell said he blocked the bills because they were “so partisan” but the it’s hard to ignore the fact that McConnell received a ton of donations from some of the top voting machine lobbyists in America.
McConnell stated his case, saying, “Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent.”
The two largest voting machine companies, Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems, would have been hit with new rules and regulations and would have also incurred financial burdens had the bills passed. These two companies alone provide about 80% of all the voting machines in the country and according to a recent Sludge report, lobbyists for them made donations to the McConnell campaign.
Of the bills that were squashed, one offered plans to use $775 million to boost elections security and to keep paper trails, the second would have seen a requirement for candidates, their family, and their staff, to notify the FBI about any foreign government offers for aid. The first was presented bu Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the second was offered by Senator Richard Blumenthal.
The Brennan Center for Justice’s Lawrence Norden said,
“It’s not surprising to me that Mitch McConnell is receiving these campaign contributions… He seems single-handedly to be standing in the way of anything passing in Congress around election security, and that includes things that the vendors might want, like money for the states to replace antiquated equipment.”-Lawrence Norden from the Brennan Center for Justice
Last week the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, also released a report saying there is evidence that Russians have targeted voting systems in every state in the country, so McConnell’s position seems even stranger since this is something that would affect Republicans and Democrats alike.
Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough offered his take on Friday morning, slamming McConnell for the move,
“He is aiding and abetting [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s ongoing attempts to subvert American democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI, intel committee… All Republicans are all saying Russia is subverting American democracy and Moscow Mitch won’t even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American.”-Joe Scarborough
In 2018, since some states were using voting machines with no paper trail, there was no way to investigate or recover votes that were inaccurate or that were involved in machine malfunction and one of the bills would have seen an end to that sort of carelessness.