Russian hackers targeted black community

Sen. Mark R. Warner | 9/20/2018, 6 a.m.
The right to vote is a precious thing. More than simply permission to cast your ballot, it’s the right to ...

The good news, as we head into November, is that our investigation has found no evidence that any vote totals or voter records were changed by Russian hackers.

Last year, ahead of the statewide elections in Virginia, I led the effort, along with then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, to make sure every voting machine in Virginia had the latest security and an auditable paper trail.

So I want to be 100 percent clear: Your vote counted in 2016. It counted in 2017. It will count this year, too.

The bad news is that Russia will be back, and we need to be ready.

While Virginia has made significant progress, state and local election officials must do more to defend our election, registration and voting systems. That means ensuring that voting machines have back-up paper ballots. It also means instituting audits, as well as providing additional federal assistance to those states that request it.

Working with my colleagues from both parties, we passed legislation providing $380 million in badly needed election security funding — an important first step toward strengthening and modernizing our election systems.

But that was only a start.

In the Senate, I’m working to pass the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which will better protect elections through more effective information sharing and election cyber security standards.

But at the end of the day, our election system is not just another government program. It is the foundation of our system of government, which gets its power from the citizens who show up to vote. The day we decide to stay home is the day that power goes away.

The way I see it, the best way to fight back against our adversaries who want to take that power away is to go to the polls on Nov. 6 and exercise your right to vote.

The writers is the current senior senator in Congress from Virginia.