Why Won’t Mitch McConnell Secure Voting?

New Orleans    Reading about the Robert Mueller testimony and the disappointment of various pundits and politicians that he didn’t make their life and decisions easier, I find such a head-scratcher.  He’s a lawyer.  He’s the former head of the FBI.  He’s a man of rules and secrets.  What were they thinking?  Preposterous!

On the other hand, Mueller was clear when he was in the lane he travels, rather than the one that others wanted him to navigate.  The Russians, maybe the Iranians, and who knows what other state actors like the Chinese, the North Koreans, and god knows who else, realize that they can hack into our hooptie voting machine apparatus and raise holy hell with our elections.  In, Mueller’s words:  it’s happening now!

For a hot minute there seemed to be a bipartisan interest in taking action at the federal level to make sure the elections were secure from hacking and interference.  Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood in the aisles and put the kibosh to that.  Articles started appearing from hither and yon, insinuating that that McConnell was a “Russian asset.”  Some were reportedly calling him “Moscow Mitch.”  McConnell was clearly upset about not getting away with election machine stonewalling this time.  He whined about not liking the nicknames to the press.  He cried about the fact that his patriotism was being questioned.  He should of course expect and receive no sympathy, since these kinds of red-baiting and scurrilous attacks have been his go-to calling cards for years.

But, why is he stopping action on an issue that seems to straight forward?  Why won’t he allow the debate and action in the Senate that would prevent foreign interference in domestic elections?  That’s an interesting question to me, since it seems like such a no-brainer.

His claim is simple.  He doesn’t want the federal government to interfere with the way states regulate voting, hiding behind a state’s rights position.  This argument clearly holds no water, because why should states control anything about federal elections?  Obviously, the federal government should be able to mandate how voting is handled and secured in federal elections.  President Trump who has bounced around about whether he would accept or reject foreign assistance in elections, even tried to argue that voter IDs should be federally mandated.  Perhaps he doesn’t understand the McConnell obfuscation around states’ rights or more likely, this is a “pick and choose” thing on whatever each one of them thinks helps their candidate and their party the most.

The only way to understand McConnell’s resistance to protecting the ballot and leaving it in the hands of the states is that he knows the Republicans are going to need more and more help at the state level in terms of gerrymandering and voter suppression in the future to survive.  He sees protecting the ballot from foreign interference as opening the door to blocking domestic interference as well.

McConnell may not like being seen as unpatriotic for allowing Russia and others to subvert our elections, but being anti-democratic in the way he seems to prefer is also unpatriotic, even if he wants to claim that partisanship and court packing our justice system is all’s fair in love, war, and, I guess, politics.

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Please enjoy  The New Pornographers  – Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile.

Thanks to KABF.

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Real vs. Fake Voting Issues May Mean Paper Ballots and Hand Counts Again

Casablanca   Hillary Clinton on a book tour and Donald Trump on his maiden voyage at the United Nations where he could take advantage of the opportunity to plug one of his branded properties across the street and threaten to annihilate a small country, reminds all of us that the American election was nearly one year ago last November. It’s officially fall again on the calendar no matter how warm it seems in country after country.

Amazingly, we are still talking about the election. For many it seems just like yesterday. Special Prosecutor and former FBI chief Robert Mueller is starting to let subpoenas fall like so many leaves all over Washington, D.C. as he tries to determine the impact the Russians had on the election and how deeply connected they were to the Trump campaign apparatus. In fact just yesterday, a year too late, the Department of Homeland Security alerted twenty-two states that they had reason to believe that their voting systems were being hacked before the last election. The twenty-two states that were confirmed by the Associated Press through calls to all 50 state election commissions were the battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Meanwhile the President quickly tweets that none of this had any effect on the election. Who knows, maybe he’s right, but rather than spending his time tweeting about it, maybe his energy would be better spent at this point making sure election systems are protected and secure. Instead, he has an Election Commission ostensibly chaired by Vice-President Pence but really nothing more than another platform for Krazy Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and putative gubernatorial candidate there to claim there was voting fraud in order to prevent more people from having their constitutional right to vote in the future. Something is just plain backasswards about all of that.

Kobach and his fake election integrity commission just got caught in one of his standard partisan stunts when they held a hearing in New Hampshire where he then unilaterally preempted the outfit before they could meet by claiming that there were over 5000 fraudulent voters that were sufficient enough to have theoretically made the difference in both the last Senate and Presidential outcomes in that state. When pulled short by the Election Commissioner in the state and the outrage in his own fake committee because he was discounting the fact that students are allowed to register and vote in New Hampshire since they spent the majority of their year there and almost all of votes he was claiming to be illegal were in college towns, like a schoolboy he essentially just said, “my bad.” What a farce!

We need a real election commission to look at real problems like how to secure and protect the ballot, not the Trump-Kobach program of how to prevent people from voting. Let the Russians play with that, while Americans figure out how we get the maximum votes and make sure they are counted fair and square. Some states have canceled contracts for new computer voting systems. Are we going to end up going back to paper ballots and hand counting, while Trump tweets and Kobach acts out for the headlines, and no one pays attention to the real problems in protecting our elections and voting systems?

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