McConnell on Election Security: We Must Stay Vigilant
‘Yesterday, both the House and the Senate were briefed by top intelligence community officials on the state of ongoing efforts to protect the security of American elections. I was glad that so many members took advantage of the chance to hear directly from the experts. This issue is very important. And it is bad for our democracy that some have sought to politicize it.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding election security:
‘Yesterday, both the House and the Senate were briefed by top intelligence community officials on the state of ongoing efforts to protect the security of American elections.
‘I was glad that so many members took advantage of the chance to hear directly from the experts. This issue is very important. And it is bad for our democracy that some have sought to politicize it.
‘All of us should acknowledge the threat.
‘And all of us should applaud the unprecedented steps this administration has taken to protect against it.
‘These significant efforts undertaken by the Administration and funded by the Congress are working.
‘Since 2017, the hundreds of millions of dollars we’ve directed to help state and local election officials reinforce their systems have been finding their mark. In all 50 states and across thousands of jurisdictions, new tools, more resources, and greater coordination have our nation’s defenses in a stronger place.
‘This includes far greater coordination with the social media companies to combat foreign disinformation, as well as close collaboration between the federal government and state and local jurisdictions on protecting electoral infrastructure.
‘And to date, the intelligence community reports they have not seen any foreign interference that aims to change vote tallies or prevent Americans from voting.
‘So the American people are absolutely right to have confidence in the integrity of our voting systems. And they do.
‘As I mentioned yesterday, one new survey has found that more than 70 percent of Americans are confident their state or local authorities will oversee a fair and accurate election this November.
‘As an aside, this is worth remembering as our Democratic colleagues try to claim that “election security” demands things like an unprecedented Washington power grab over the nuanced details of how states and localities conduct elections, or addressing things like campaign finance.
‘These are long-time left-wing goals that have basically nothing to do with the actual threats now before us.
‘But the American people’s confidence in the key institutions of our democracy does not mean they are complacent. They aren’t. The same survey shows the American people understand full well that foreign adversaries like Russia want to divide this country and distort our discourse through disinformation.
‘And the intelligence community confirms that, too. Our intelligence experts have publicly assessed that Russia and other adversaries will continue looking for ways to warp our public debate from overseas.
‘We all need to be aware that our adversaries seek to exploit the openness of our society to turn Americans against ourselves.
‘Adversaries like Russia want to exacerbate social and political tensions in our country. They want to undermine our confidence in our own elections and Democratic institutions.
‘This is why I have stressed that politicians need to be careful not to take the bait.
‘It’s why the President signed an executive order to enable sanctions against any person or any country that attempts to meddle in our elections.
‘It’s why this Administration has created new procedures for promptly notifying campaigns that are targeted by foreign entities, unlike how the Obama administration hid the ball in 2016.
‘And it is why the new, tough foreign policies of the last three years will continue to be essential.
‘Narrow, tailored solutions are important, but the best way for the United States to defend ourselves and our interests against any malign behavior is to possess unquestionable strength and make it perfectly clear we are not interested in being pushed around.
‘I’ve been a Russia hawk for more than 30 years. I am on the record from the late years of the Clinton administration warning Democrats not to be naive about a new President-elect named Vladimir Putin.
‘So I applaud this administration’s tough stance with Russia. And I am pleased that Democrats have stopped mocking Republicans for being too tough on Russia and have come around to our point of view.
‘We’ve come a long way since the passivity and failures of the Obama administration in 2016.
‘But this work is not finished. And senators are fooling themselves if they think this is just about Russia.
‘We must stay vigilant — all of us. Federal leaders. State and local elections officials. And every American citizen.
‘Every one of us has a part to play in protecting our democracy.’
Related Issues: National Security