The New York Times reports that Russians are less focused on targeting the mid-term elections than they were the presidential elections.

The reason? In short, mid-term elections are better distributed.

You elect an entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate across every corner of the country. Interference in such an election isn’t efficient or cost effective, given all the significant races and the geographic spread. You would have to spend a lot of time and money in different places, to push forward one, relatively powerless candidate at a time.

It’s much better to hack or intervene with a presidential election, which run on the opposite principle.

The presidency is an ever-more powerful office – far too powerful, as we’re seeing now that a deeply irresponsible person holds it. And it is chosen in a small handful of states considered competitive. It’s perfect for troublemakers. You can screw up a nation of 320 million with fewer than 100,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

In recent years, the idea of having a national popular vote has advanced in several states, including California. The idea is to effectively end the Electoral College by getting enough states – states whose electors add up to 270 – to agree to award their delegates to the national popular vote winner.

I’ve been skeptical about what is a workaround. How much can we trust the counts in every state? But the vulnerability of our elections – and the decision by at least one major political party that it doesn’t want to protect our elections – change the stakes. America needs a far more distributed presidential election system, one where every vote counts, to help protect itself from election interference.

A national popular vote is thus not just a policy to advance democracy. It’s a policy to protect national security.