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Election security a must

Thanks to its vote-by-mail, paper ballot election system, Oregon has little to fear from hackers seeking to tamper with votes. But the same can’t be said for all states. Both parties in Congress are playing politics with election security legislation, but there is no excuse for refusing to even consider new measures.

There is no question that Russian hackers attempted

to tamper with the

2016 election, although there is no evidence that any actual votes were changed. Federal investigators have said they expect more attempts in the 2020 election.

Democrats tout a House-passed bill, the Securing America’s Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked from consideration, and they blame Republicans for putting the next election at risk by refusing to take up the bill.

As usual, it’s not that simple. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board notes that the bill would require all paper ballots to be printed on recycled paper, which some elections officials have said could increase the risk of false readings. The measure also would require states accepting federal grant money to make sure any new voting equipment was capable of implementing ranked choice voting. A few states and localities have implemented ranked choice voting, but a federal mandate is not appropriate in an election security measure.

Republicans control the Senate. Nothing prevents them from amending the House bill, or taking up any of a number of Senate proposals.

What’s not acceptable is to do nothing. All Americans deserve an election system as secure as Oregon’s.