OUR VIEW: Protecting, and using, our voting rights is essential

Published on Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:35
Written by Staff

This week, Connecticut officials were notified by the federal government that the state’s online voter registration system was one of more than 20 targeted during last year’s presidential campaign in hacking efforts by Russia. But, the secretary of the state’s office tells us, it was not breached.

The fact that the state’s detection system worked is certainly good news. But the mere attempt is worrisome, as are earlier reports that Russia was behind the flood of “fake news” on social media during the 2016 election campaigns. The Washington Post said Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery - including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts -amplified right-wing sites across the Internet. Moreover, Facebook plans to turn over to Congress copies of more than 3,000 politically themed advertisements bought through Russian accounts during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A lot of people are shrugging off this news, saying it’s all politics, but we think a distinction needs to be made here.

These discoveries are not about the outcome of the 2016 presidential election or whether we are fans of Donald Trump’s unique brand of politics. In fact, experts say, the true aim of Russian interference is nothing less than to shatter our faith in the democratic - small D - system, not to further the political fortunes of any one person.

Put another way, this is about our ability to trust what we read and to believe that our elections are fair.

Whether Russian interference succeeds is ultimately up to us. We must demand the truth and expect our leaders to do the same. We must protect our voting rights - and, most important - we must exercise them.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:35. Updated: Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:38.