WASHINGTON — Republicans last week shut down a series of Democrat-backed bills on election security forms.
“The threats we face in 2020, in my view, are going to make 2016 look like small potatoes,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on the Senate floor.
He and fellow Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Mark Warner of Virginia tried to force votes on bills that would mandate the use of paper ballots and require that campaigns report foreign interference. “The appropriate step is not to say thank you … The appropriate response is to call the FBI,” Warner said. The bills would also put strict rules on social media political ads.
“Every second, someone’s trying to figure out how to get into your mind and into your life and we’re trying to keep technology up with this reality,” Durbin said.
But one by one, the bills were blocked by Senate Republicans, who say they are partisan, too expensive and would actually make elections less safe. “This bill has more red flags than the Chinese embassy,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said the job is up to the states. “I believe elections and elections security is the jurisdiction of our local election commissions,” she said.
“The fact the Republican leadership, backed by the White House, won’t even let us vote is a real disgrace,” Warner said. He said his bill would pass if a vote was allowed, but for now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., supports only giving local officials the money they need to secure elections.