As Attorney General William Barr releases his redacted version of the Mueller report, there are still more questions than answers. This is not what many citizens expect of our government. The traditions and values I grew up with include helping the helpless, providing for children, honoring our commitments, honoring veterans like John McCain and believing that elections reflected the will of the majority of the American people.
I thought the sanctity of our elections was also a basic tenet of our system of government. So I have to wonder what is going on with Congress and the failure to develop a system of preventing Russia or other countries from hacking and influencing the 2020 election.
Democrats have proposed changes including voting rights, campaign finance and ethics requirements in HR 1. The bill establishes grants to assist states in upgrading equipment and training of election workers, makes registering to vote easier and makes election day a federal holiday. I believe that all those issues, except perhaps the holiday, need to be addressed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing, however, to allow any election-related legislation to come to the floor for debate and/or vote. This flies in the face of the concern and anxiety of many Americans. It confirms the opinion of those who do not vote “because my vote doesn’t count.” And far more serious is a question about the motivation for many actions taken by our current government.
It is difficult, at least for this American, to understand how any citizen would block any effort to ensure that elections truly reflect the will of the people.
What is so objectionable about HR 1 to those who are elected to serve the will of the American people? One can only assume that those in opposition must not want some of the topics addressed in the bill such as voting rights.
Right here in Kansas, a voting location in Dodge City was moved outside the city limits, making is difficult for voters to access. Voters faced barriers of many kinds across the nation. Some poll workers did all they could to make voting difficult or to influence the outcome. Even in Leavenworth, stories still abound about a poll worker who promoted her candidate husband to voters.
Who would support or accept such activities? Only those who do not want people unlike them to vote. We have seen that before in poll taxes and discriminatory actions.
Running for office has become so expensive that the rich and those willing to support the causes of their wealthy donors can afford to run for many offices. Campaign finance reform has been an area of concern for years. Who does not want to address campaign finance reform? I can only assume that would be those who benefit from the money and influence.
HR 1 would require paper ballots nationwide to provide a paper trail of all votes and make recounts possible for questionable or very close races.
States would also be required to upgrade voting equipment and establish cybersecurity standards. Most people worry about being hacked personally. Why wouldn’t we want something as important as an election to have the same safeguards?
McConnell’s refusal to allow any discussion on election-related proposals, even from his own party, should make every American consider his motives. The lack of action to protect our election process is reckless and encouraging to those who want to influence our country, especially our enemies.
Jane Gies is a Leavenworth Times columnist.