Republican senator blocks bills that would protect elections from foreign interference

Republican senator blocks bills that would protect elections from foreign interference
Image via Gage Skidmore.

Axios reminded readers of Sen. Marsha Blackburn's (R-TN) 2020 effort to block bills that could ensure US elections are more secure on Monday.

The bills were Sen. Mark Warner's (D-VA) plan to ensure that after the Russian interference in the 2016 election, a foreign country could never do it again. According to Blackburn, however, they're a "federal power grab."

One of the bills would make campaigns call the FBI if they were ever approached by a foreign power and offered election assistance. During the 2016 election, Trump's campaign was offered "dirt" on opponent Hillary Clinton, and operatives met with the person offering the information in Trump Tower.

A different bill would fund the Election Assistance Commission, which would ensure that voting machines weren't connected to the internet. Republicans claimed after the 2020 election that the machines were being hacked and that was how foreign countries were able to decide U.S. elections.

The Senate Intelligence Committee released the third section of their report on the security of the election in 2016 and noted that it was "not well-postured" to counter it again. At the same time, the intelligence community has been warning that there aren't the necessary protections in place to ensure American elections are as secure as they could be. FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress that Russia continues its "informational warfare" campaign as the midterm elections approach.

"[Democrats] are attempting to bypass this body’s Rules Committee on behalf of various bills that will seize control over elections from the states and take it from the states and where do they want to put it?" Blackburn complained. "They want it to rest in the hands of Washington, D.C., bureaucrats."

Most state and local election offices don't have the staff or resources available to protect against international hackers or foreign spies.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Details in latest DOJ filing could 'drive Trump to be even more worried’: legal expert

Read the full report at Axios.

CORRECTION: This story initially reported the bills were part of a package introduced in 2022. AlterNet regrets the error.

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