Failure to protect our democracy is simply unacceptable

Iris Hageney

Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation led to 37 indictments and at least seven guilty pleas and criminal convictions. Many of these indictments targeted Russian nationals for interfering in the 2016 election. Mueller’s report laid bare how the Russian government targeted election infrastructure in multiple states in 2016, and the national security community has confirmed that efforts to undermine future elections are already underway.

These indictments will not protect our election systems from future cyber attacks. We desperately need greater election security funding for states that will safeguard against attempts to tamper with vote counts — but Congress has failed to deliver.

The House of Representatives recently passed a 2020 appropriations bill (HR 3351) that would allocate $600 million to states to replace outdated voting equipment with a system that uses voter-verified paper ballots, which are the best protection against cyber attacks attempting to change the outcome of our elections. Many U.S. states have no way of verifying vote counts in the event of a cyberattack.

So far, the Senate has failed to follow suit and prioritize election security funding for states. I’m asking senators to take a stand and support a version of the House bill, and urge other senators to do the same.

Failure to protect our democracy is simply unacceptable, especially when there’s a clear way forward.

Iris Hageney is a resident of Water Oak.