Just this week, an election security bill was introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and it was quickly blocked by one Republican, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who said the legislation was too “over-broad.”
But even if Blackburn hadn’t sabotaged the bill, it likely would never have been allowed to come to the floor for a vote thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has repeatedly kneecapped any potential legislation to protect American elections.
According to a new report from Sludge, the main reason McConnell is so opposed to protecting our votes probably has something to do with campaign contributions he’s taken from companies that manufacture easily hackable electronic voting machines:
The two largest voting machine vendors in the U.S., Election Systems & Software (ES&S) and Dominion Voting Systems, together supply more than 80% of the nation’s voting machines. The companies have operated extensive lobbying operations in states for years, and both companies recently hired new lobbyists to represent them at the federal level.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck lobbyist David Cohen, who lobbiesfor Dominion Voting Systems on issues related to election security and monitors federal legislation for the company, gave McConnell $2,000 on March 31: $1,000 to his campaign committee and $1,000 to his joint fundraising committee. Lobbyist Brain Wild, who works alongside Cohen on the Dominion contract, gave McConnell $1,000 on the same day.
Lawrence Noren of the Brennan Center for Justice, says the Senate Majority Leader is clearly operating under a quid pro quo that involves cash in exchange for holding back any bills to address the problem of election security:
“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.”
Several pieces of legislation have been introduced by congressional Democrats, but they all meet the same fate when the arrive in the GOP-controlled Senate, especially when they contain a provision that paper ballot backups be required for all elections. That led Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) to comment:
“I don’t know why Mitch McConnell is staging a full roadblock of election security legislation. But it is clear as day that there are politicians in the country who view insecure voting equipment as a benefit that helps them win elections. Instead of defending Americans’ constitutional rights, they are looking at this issue from a purely cynical and political standpoint.”
Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about protecting our elections. It’s another reason he needs to be replaced in 2020.
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