States have urged the federal government to provide more funding in order to beef up cybersecurity in voting systems, but Republicans in Congress just don’t think it’s the right time to do it. On Wednesday, an amendment to allocate $250 million for election security was rejected by the Senate on partisan lines. Senator Patrick Leahy introduced today’s amendment for a floor vote after it was rejected by the Senate Appropriations committee. Ahead of the vote, he wrote, “It is time that we heed the clear warning of the intelligence community and take action. It is our obligation to take these attacks on our states seriously, and to step in with the necessary resources to defend our elections.” Despite the bad optics of publicly opposing stronger election security, the amendment was rejected in a 50-to-47 vote, falling far short of the 60 votes needed to pass. Senator Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote in favor of the spending. Three other Republicans—Richard Burr, Jeff Flake, and John McCain—did not vote for various reasons. Last week, 21 state attorneys general sent congressional leaders a letter saying additional funding was desperately needed in order to prevent the type of targeted hacking that was seen in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. The letter followed a vote in the House on July 19 in which Republicans dismissed legislation put forth by Democrats that would renew $380 million earmarked for election security in 2018. It’s difficult to imagine why Congress would not want… [Read full story]
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