Election interference not a partisan issue

Editorial voice of the Chieftain

Reports of Russian interference in an American election should be concerning to everyone in this country, regardless of their political affiliation. A foreign government meddling in our sovereignty and independence is not a partisan issue.

And multiple nonpartisan U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as intelligence agencies of some foreign allies, have reported that Russia attempted to influence our democratic process during the 2016 presidential election.

It doesn’t matter who won the election. Outside interference is an affront to our way of life. It undermines the belief that Americans have in our institutions and our government.

Almost as scary as the fact that our country has been under intense, sustained cyberattack is the fact our population has become so polarized that some are willing to see their neighbors as enemies, rather than a foreign power actively trying to manipulate our country for their benefit.

This is something that should bring us together. In the face of a real enemy, we should remember we’re all on the same team, hoping to make our country as safe and prosperous as possible.

We should all want to know exactly what happened during the run up to the 2016 election. We should all demand the truth so we are better protected from interference in future elections.

Questioning and condemning a foreign country’s involvement should not be conflated as an attack on our president. Unless an investigation determines a member of Donald Trump’s campaign colluded in the interference or that the president obstructed justice regarding the investigation into the matter, he should be presumed innocent. No evidence has yet been presented that either occurred.

There is ample evidence, however, that Russia attempted to influence our election and undermine our democracy. That should be concerning to everyone, including the president, both political parties and every elected official.

During his testimony before Congress, former FBI director James Comey was clear he believes this will happen again and again. Russia and other enemies will look for any means they can to disrupt our nation’s free election process, and cyberattacks are the most efficient way to do damage covertly.

Election interference is not a party-line issue. It is a threat to all Americans. We should demand answers from our intelligence agencies, and implore Congress to get to the bottom of what happened and figure out how we can stop it from happening again.

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