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A ballot is cast as portable voting machines stand at the ready for people to turn out for early voting at the Oak Grove Community Park polling station Monday Nov. 26, 2018, in Prairieville, La.

Republican-appointed current and former directors of the FBI and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee told the American people last week that a bedrock of our democracy — free and fair elections — are under attack by the Russian government and other hostile countries. The FBI director said so in sworn testimony to the Senate and the Intelligence committee discussed it in a report on the 2016 election.

Yet, also this week U.S. senators blocked several bi-partisan bills to safeguard our elections, including funding to states, and called them partisan or left-driven.

How is protecting our elections from foreign attacks partisan?

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Special Counsel Robert Mueller said the Russians have not stopped these efforts since 2016. The Intelligence Committee said all 50 states’ systems were targeted in some manner, and in one state the Russians were in a position to delete or change voter data.

These reports are especially problematic for Louisiana as we await the purchase of new voting machines before next year’s presidential election. Yet, the Republican-led legislature cut the budget for purchasing these machines during this past session. Federal funding to protect our elections would go a long way to purchasing hack-proof voting machines.

I was a registered Republican for 35 years. I remember when Republicans thought the FBI was good and the Russian government was bad. Now, it seems they think just the opposite. They defend a president whose campaign had over 100 contacts with Russians — including sharing polling data in key swing states which formulated Russia’s online disinformation activities and taking “dirt” on his opponent from Russians — and who says he’d do it all over again.

Not taking swift and decisive action to protect our free and fair elections is like not improving airport safety after 9/11. Sadly, it appears Republicans believe they swore an oath to protect this president instead of an oath to the Constitution to protect our country.

Allison Prendergast

retired communications specialist