Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell squashed two bills intended to ensure voting security on Thursday, just one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned that Russians were attempting to sabotage the 2020 presidential elections “as we sit here.”
McConnell said he wouldn’t allow a vote on the bills because they were “so partisan,” but, as previously reported, earlier this year McConnell received a slew of donations from four of the top voting machine lobbyists in the country.
The plans would likely burden the two largest electronic voting machine vendors in the United States, Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems, with new regulations and financial burdens. Together, the companies make up about 80 percent of all voting machines used in the country and both have far-reaching lobbying arms in Washington D.C. Many of those lobbyists have contributed to the McConnell campaign.
Thursday’s first bill, presented by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would authorize $775 million to bolster election security and require states to keep paper trails of all votes cast. The second, presented by Senator Richard Blumenthal, would require political candidates and their staff and family members to notify the FBI about any offers of assistance from foreign governments.
McConnell blocked both of them from a Senate vote.
McConnell’s actions seemed even more out of balance with his party, as the Senate Intelligence Committee⁠—led by Republicans⁠—released a report later on Thursday claiming Russians have targeted voting systems in all 50 states in 2016.