States received $380 million in election security grants from Congress last year, but there's general consensus that the total is not remotely close to what's required to replace outdated and not reliably secure balloting hardware. Russian hackers are widely suspected of searching for vulnerabilities in several states' voting systems in the last presidential election.
The intelligence community says there's no evidence any results were altered, but the vulnerabilities will only be easier to exploit four years later. The biggest concern is with the dozen states where electronic voting machines do not provide printouts confirming each voter's choices.
Of these, Delaware has dedicated money to replacements in time for next year's election, the Georgia and South Carolina legislatures are on course to earmark similar spending, and Louisiana's plan is temporarily on hold because of a contract award dispute. The Brennan Center says modernization is essentially at a standstill in the other states: Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."