Dear editor,

Ignoring hostile foreign intervention in our elections is one of the most serious threats we face as a democracy. The Mueller investigation concluded that Russian interference occurred in 2016, continues even now, and can be expected in the 2020 election. In addition, other countries are gaining similar abilities. These conclusions were part of Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Investigative Committee.

Both Congressional action and White House cooperation are needed to enact bills that would protect our elections including: 1) federally fund $600 million to upgrade voting machines and include paper backup; 2) require campaigns to notify authorities if foreign nationals contact them; 3) require internet companies to disclose who pays for political ads; 4) impose sanctions on anyone who attacks our elections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked these proposals from coming to a vote in the Senate. This reflects Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in our elections. Perhaps Trump fears that recognizing Russian interference would cast doubt on the legitimacy of his election. A leader who won’t protect our nation from attack is the ultimate problem.

Russian hackers penetrated Illinois’ voter registration database in 2016 and were in a position to delete or change the data. Unsecured voting systems exist across our country. Federal funding to update voting machines and requirements for paper backup are essential for the 2020 election.

Investigation found that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared internal polling data and campaign strategy for winning votes in midwestern states with Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik. Then an intensive Russian media blitz using polling data on midwestern states and Russian-hacked Clinton emails reached 80 million people directly and an estimated 126 million through sharing on Facebook.
Trump won the Electoral College through some 80,000 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Congressional action and White House support are needed to counter any foreign influence in our elections. Next it could be China intervening over tariffs.

Kathy Kascewicz

Fifield, Wis.

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