Saturday, September 09, 2017

Why the Republicans don't want to know about Russian intervention in the 2016 elections

Will Bunch reminds us that not only do the Republicans want to spare themselves the partisan embarrassment of what a thorough investigation of alleged Russian intervention in the 2016 election because it would remind everyone of how the Russians preferred Donald "Make American Great Again" Trump. Looking at election system vulnerabilities would inevitably bring suggestions for election system security that would make the Republicans' efforts to suppress black and Latino voting much more difficult than they are finding it to be right now. From Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election? Philadelphia Inquirer 09/03/2017:

American elections are easy to mess with because America’s election system is terrible — Russian hacking or no Russian hacking. Voters went to the polls in 2016 after years of efforts by mostly GOP-led state governments to make it hard for citizens — but especially non-white citizens, college students or the elderly — to cast ballots. Consider Wisconsin, the state where Trump pulled arguably his biggest upset, winning by only 22,748 votes. Critics have said Wisconsin’s turnout fell sharply because of its voter ID law (although maybe not by 200,000, as one study claimed.) Voters in the Badger State were also badgered with “fake news” — some of it undoubtedly from Russia. It’s hard to tell an array of innocent computer glitches and malfunctions from criminal hacking.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or political scientist to figure out what needs to be done. In the long run, we need massive election reform — including a new and improved Voting Rights Act that would pinpoint the most pernicious voter ID laws, an Election Day federal holiday, and same-day voter registration. We need a voting system that leaves a real paper trail that can be routinely audited and easily investigated when there are allegations of vote tampering. And, as the Times article makes clear, we need a more thorough investigation of computer hacking and other problems that occurred in 2016 — regardless of the possibility that we might learn the unthinkable.

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