Ford and 21 other attorneys general tell Senate to protect elections

grim reaper
U.S. Senate Majority Leader and self-described "grim reaper" Mitch McConnell. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
grim reaper
U.S. Senate Majority Leader and self-described “grim reaper” Mitch McConnell. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The U.S. Senate must act to protect the 2020 elections from interference, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and attorneys general from 21 states said in in a letter to key Senate committee chairs Tuesday.

The House has passed election protections, and following Donald Trump’s statement to ABC News last week that he would accept information on political opponents from foreign governments, the House is planning to move more election security measures in coming days.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the Republican controlled Senate, has dismissed such election security legislation, tarring virtually everything supported by Democrats as “socialism” and embracing the nickname “Grim Reaper,” a nod to his commitment to kill any legislation passed in the House by refusing to allow it to be voted on in the Senate.

“Intelligence officials and the Department of Justice continue to warn that our election systems have been a target for foreign adversaries and that those same adversaries are currently working to undermine the upcoming elections,” the attorneys general wrote.

“The Special Counsel’s Report concludes that Russia interfered in our elections in a ‘sweeping and systematic fashion,'” the letter continues. “Russia successfully breached election systems in Florida and the Department of Homeland Security is reviewing computers used in North Carolina after the state experienced irregularities on Election Day. In addition, documents leaked by the National Security Agency show that hackers working for Russian military intelligence installed malware on a voting systems software company used in eight states.”

The AGs ask for additional election security funding for states and localities to upgrade election equipment, systems and databases. They also want the establishment of cybersecurity and audit standards for election systems.

And they reiterate support for the Secure Elections Act, bipartisan Senate legislation that was first introduced in 2017 that would help states get rid of paperless voting and mandate inproved audits of elections results.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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