Dan Coats, former Director of National Intelligence, underscored the importance of restoring faith in America’s electoral process and called on Congress to create a commission to oversee this year’s election.

“Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace,” Coats wrote in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday.

He later added: “The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture.”

In reiterating the importance of ensuring that every vote will be counted, Coats introduced his proposed commission.

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“I propose that Congress creates a new mechanism to help accomplish this purpose. It should create a supremely high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election,” he wrote. “This commission would not circumvent existing electoral reporting systems or those that tabulate, evaluate or certify the results. But it would monitor those mechanisms and confirm for the public that the laws and regulations governing them have been scrupulously and expeditiously followed — or that violations have been exposed and dealt with — without political prejudice and without regard to political interests of either party.”

He added that the commission would be comprised of national leaders such as “congressional leaders, current and former governors, ‘elder statespersons,’ former national security leaders,” and others who take an oath “to put partisan politics aside.”

The commission would be created via emergency legislative action from Congress, Coats said.

“During that process, its precise mandate, composition, powers and resources would be defined,” he wrote.

He concluded the op-ed with an ominous message: “If we fail to take every conceivable effort to ensure the integrity of our election, the winners will not be Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Republicans or Democrats. The only winners will be Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Ali Khamenei. No one who supports a healthy democracy could want that.”

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