A lack of affordable health care, a divisive media climate, and gun violence are just a sampling of the dozens of issues of paramount importance currently facing America. Some issues have a short-term impact while some will impact us for generations to come, but all must be solved by leadership from individuals in the highest positions of government.

As Americans, we are lucky to live in a country in which we can choose the individuals who we wish to represent us in making the nation’s most important decisions. This is basic civics. However, after several years of scrupulous investigation, special counsel Bob Mueller concluded that our elections are prone to interference from foreign adversaries. What’s more frightening is that such interferences are almost certain to occur again. 

Our elections are sacred and we are lucky to be able to duly elect our representatives at the highest levels of government. Given this, shouldn’t we do everything in our power to protect the right to vote? Lawmakers recently put forth two bills (the FIRE and Duty to Report Acts) that would mandate that all campaigns report any attempted influence by a foreign government to the FEC and FBI; failure to do so would result in fines of up to $500 thousand and prison time of up to 5 years.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned bills to ensure the sanctity and security of our elections were blocked in the Senate last week, which prevented a vote from occurring.  In pretty standard fashion, a palpably bipartisan motion was framed as partisan political theater.  As a student who plans on voting any time I am given the opportunity to do so, there is nothing remotely partisan about ensuring the fairness of an election process that inherently favors no single political party.

The FIRE and Duty to Report Acts should have been approved unanimously as a bipartisan measure the moment Mueller confirmed election interference. To me, this sentiment is not evidence of political bias on my part.  I’m simply arguing that we have the moral authority to defend what has historically made this nation so special: a safe and fair representative democracy that can ameliorate the issues facing the national collective.

Ryan Altman is a junior at Windward School in Los Angeles.