A progressive group with ties to the Clinton family and former President Barack Obama wants to make it harder for American soldiers serving overseas to vote.
The Center for American Progress released a 245-page report Monday claiming that voting systems in most states are “vulnerable to hacking and other interference by foreign governments bent on disrupting the election process,” according to a news release.
With that in mind, the left-wing group proposed a variety of methods to help prevent election interference.
On such method involves ensuring that American citizens living abroad — including military personnel — can’t submit their ballots via electronic means, like fax or email.
The report specifically took aim at Colorado. Though the state was given an overall “B” grade for election security, the center criticized Colorado for allowing its overseas citizens to vote electronically.
“Colorado should prohibit voters stationed or living overseas from returning voted ballots electronically,” the report reads. “Regardless of the state’s secure ballot return system for electronically voted ballots, we recommend that all voted ballots be returned by mail or delivered in person.”
But Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams disagrees, emphasizing in a statement that Colorado has safeguards in place to ensure that the process by which its overseas citizens vote electronically is secure.
“They don’t believe someone who works on a submarine should be allowed to vote,” said Williams, a Republican. “We do.”
As noted by The Washington Times, it’s somewhat unusual that the Center for American Progress, which usually fights to increase voting rights and ballot access, would lobby for the opposite. The center was founded by John Podesta, a senior adviser in the administrations of both Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
According to some conservatives, there’s no doubt the report was politically motivated.
“Perhaps they think that Navy SEALs can swim ballots ashore, hand them off to Army paratroopers who can parachute into Colorado to drop off the ballots?” read a Monday post from Colorado Peak Politics.
“You can bet that if the military historically voted Democrat instead of Republican, the Center for American Progress would not have a problem with it,” the site added.
J. Christian Adams, who leads the conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation, told The Times that the report’s recommendations “shouldn’t be a surprise,” especially when considering that members of the military tend to be more conservative.
“CAP would oppose that because they don’t like that the military votes against their interests nearly all of the time,” Adams said. “But there are very few votes that come in that way, so it’s not a really big issue. CAP wants to make it easier for felons and criminals to vote, but wants to make it harder for fighting men and women overseas.”
The center’s report graded every state in the country on the security of its election system, and eventually came to the conclusion that “election infrastructure in most states remain susceptible to attacks by sophisticated enemies.”
“This report should spur demand across the country for urgent steps needed to defend America’s election security against another attempt by a foreign nation to disrupt our elections,” said the report’s lead author, Danielle Root. “While vulnerabilities in the election infrastructure still exist, it’s encouraging to see some states taking steps to better protect their elections.”
But Colorado was far from the only state to be disparaged for letting overseas voters submit their ballots electronically. Alabama, California, Delaware and the District of Columbia were all similarly criticized.
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