Right-wing activists call on Mitch McConnell to stop blocking election security bills
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

On Wednesday, CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing renewed pressure to take up election security legislation, from a pair of unlikely sources: Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.


Norquist — who once famously said that he wanted to slash government to a size where he could "drown it in a bathtub" — called for hand-marked paper ballots, and urged Congress to pass something similar to the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which would have given states incentives to switch to secure voting methods and promoted data-sharing to identify threats. The measure was first introduced in 2017 by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (D-OK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), but never came to a vote.

Speaking to CNN, Norquist made his position clear: Republicans need secure, verifiable elections just as much as Democrats do.

"We benefit from more secure elections. We benefit from being able to double-check," said Norquist. "I expect to be winning elections for the next 20 years and I don't want the Democrats to explain that every single one of those was stolen. So let's make it ironclad."

Hand-marked paper ballots, once considered an outdated method of voting, are making a comeback in several states due to the relative difficulty of auditing the tallies of aging electronic voting machines.

Multiple bills on election security have been blocked by McConnell, who has earned the nickname "Moscow Mitch" for seemingly wanting to do nothing about the risk Russia could attack the U.S. voting system again. McConnell, for his part, has angrily claimed that he is already appropriating funds for this purpose and the bills are not needed.