Here's how candidates in some of November's toughest Senate races match up on key tech issues

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Most of the candidates for Senate don't exactly make the grade when it comes to technology issues.

A new study from Tusk Ventures and Engine Advocacy hands out report cards to candidates in some of November's tightest Senate races. The study graded 22 candidates vying for 11 of the 34 Senate seats up for grabs in November, eliminating the races that are likely to be total blowouts.

The candidates were graded on their actions — like votes, letters, and the co-sponsorship of bills — as well as their public statements, and were evaluated in four categories: broadband access & infrastructure, intellectual property, data security & privacy, and talent. Candidates without a record on an issue were given an "incomplete" for that category.

No candidate got a perfect grade on the issues, and some candidates have no history of speaking about or voting on tech at all — although it's worth noting that several of the Senate candidates have never run for office before or are somewhat new to politics. The category of data privacy and security — a key issue in a year when hacking and cybersecurity has been on the forefront — had some of the worst grades, and only one candidate got an A.

Here's how the candidates stack up in each category.

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How Senate candidates stack up on key tech issues
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How Senate candidates stack up on key tech issues
Arizona: John McCain (R) vs. Ann Kirkpatrick (D)

McCain

Telecom: C+
Intellectual property: F
Data privacy/security: F
Talent: B+

"McCain has been on the side of the startup community in some instances, supporting key bills like the JOBS Act (extra credit point!), advocating for expanded broadband access, and supporting efforts to auction inefficiently-used spectrum for commercial use. He opposes net neutrality, voted no on the USA Freedom Act, co-sponsored PIPA, opposed the America Invents Actand has supported legislative efforts that would ban end-to-end encryption and require companies to build backdoors into their products."

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Kirkpatrick

Telecom: C+
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: B

"Kirkpatrick has supported a number of pro-startup issues, voting in favor of the USA Freedom Act and the Innovation Act, and supporting improved STEM education and comprehensive immigration reform. On net neutrality, Kirkpatrick opposed the No Rate Regulation Act (which would block the FCC from enforcing net neutrality)."

(Photos: J. Scott Applewhite/AP; Ralph Freso/AP; Business Insider)

Florida: Marco Rubio (R) vs. Patrick Murphy (D)

Rubio

Telecom: D
Intellectual property: C
Data privacy/security: D
Talent: A

"Rubio supports patent reform and is strong on workforce and skills issues... he has consistently supported high-skilled immigration reforms, co-sponsoring both the I-Squared Act and the Startup Act. But his assertion that net neutrality will give power over the Internet to 'an unelected, unaccountable board' is patently false... and his staunch support ofgovernment surveillance programs raises red flags."

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Murphy

Telecom: A
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: D+
Talent: A

"Murphy voted 'yes' on both the Innovation Act and the USA Freedom Act, and co-sponsored the Startup Act, which would create two new visas for entrepreneurs and STEM graduates. However... his stance on encryption is problematic."

(Photos: Chris Keane/Reuters; Steve Cannon/AP; Business Insider)

Illinois: Mark Kirk (R) vs. Tammy Duckworth (D)

Kirk

Telecom: C-
Intellectual property: B+
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: A

"Most significantly, Kirk opposed PIPA and is a co-sponsor of the I-Squared Act, a high-skilled immigration bill widely supported by the tech community. However, Sen. Kirk has strongly opposed net neutrality."

--

Duckworth

Telecom: A
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: A-

"...she voted against the No Rate Regulation Act, sees broadband as an essential utility, and has advocated for expanded access. She has also made STEM education a priority, supporting President Obama’s Computer Science For All grants."

(Photos: M. Spencer Green/AP; Joe Raedle/Getty Images; Business Insider)

Indiana: Todd Young (R) vs. Evan Bayh (D)

Young

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: A
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"He has been an ally on IP-related issues, voting 'yes' on both the America Invents Act and the Innovation Act and opposing SOPA. However, Young was docked points for his strong opposition to net neutrality." 

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Bayh

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"...his positions on most of the issues evaluated for this scorecard are unclear. He has made some positive efforts around broadband investment: during his time as governor of Indiana, he awarded $3 million in grants to help public schools get better access to the internet."

(Photos: Darren Cummings/AP; Leigh Vogel/Getty Images; Business Insider)

Missouri: Roy Blunt (R) vs. Jason Kander (D)

Blunt

Telecom: D-
Intellectual property: D
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: A

"...his positions on broadband are abysmal: he opposes net neutrality and has called on the FCC to reverse its decision to update the definition of broadband from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps, essentially calling for lower broadband speeds."

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Kander

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"He has pushed back on Blunt’s position on broadband speeds, arguing that 'Missourians deserve access to the Internet as a basic, essential utility, and our leaders in Washington need to do everything they can to help expand and improve broadband speeds—especially in rural areas.'"

(Photos: Molly Riley/AP; Sid Hastings/AP; Business Insider)

New Hampshire: Kelly Ayotte (R) vs. Maggie Hassan (D)

Ayotte

Telecom: C-
Intellectual property: B-
Data privacy/security: D+
Talent: A

"Sen. Ayotte earns points for her votes in favor of several bills key to the tech and startup community, such as the USA Freedom Act and the America Invents Act. However, she is docked points for her staunch opposition to net neutrality, her views on encryption, and for initially co-sponsoring PIPA (though she later withdrew support)."

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Hassan

Telecom: A
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"She recently announced the Innovate NH 2.0 plan to encourage high tech economic growth, and launched theLive Free and Start Initiative to help modernize New Hampshire’s government and to foster a startup ecosystem. Hassan has a stellar record on broadband: he supports expanding rural broadband access and improving 4G mobile service, and has pledged to protect the FCC’s net neutrality rules."

(Photos: Mike Segar/Reuters; Jim Cole/AP; Business Insider)

Nevada: Joe Heck (R) vs. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

Heck

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: A
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: B+

"He is... a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform and has argued that scaling back the H1-B visa program could hurt economic growth. Heck also supported the USA Freedom Actand the JOBS Act (extra credit). Unfortunately, Heck has opposed net neutrality, voting for an anti-net neutrality resolution in 2011"

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Cortez Masto

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"While Cortez Masto has pledged to 'ensure every rural community has access to high-speed broadband, and small businesses have access to necessary capital to keep and create jobs,' her positions on most of the issues we evaluated for this scorecard are unknown."

(Photos: Julie Jacobson/AP; John Locher/AP; Business Insider)

North Carolina: Richard Burr (R) vs. Deborah Ross (D)

Burr

Telecom: D-
Intellectual property: B+
Data privacy/security: F
Talent: Incomplete

"Burr has drawn the ire of the tech community in recent months for his efforts to undermine encryption by sponsoring a bill effectively requiring companies to decrypt communications for law enforcement."

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Ross

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"In response to Senator Burr’s controversial encryption bill, Ross made a vague statementarguing that more debate on the 'complicated issue' is needed. She has said she would have supported the 2013 immigration bill that passed the Senate but has said little about high-skilled immigration specifically."

(Photos: Chuck Barton/AP; Business Insider)

Ohio: Rob Portman (R) vs. Ted Strickland (D)

Portman

Telecom: D
Intellectual property: A
Data privacy/security: C-
Talent: A-

"Portman also opposed PIPA, voted 'yes' on the America Invents Act, and supported legislation in the House in 2000 to increase the number of available H-1B visas"

--

Strickland

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"As governor of Ohio, Strickland led efforts to expand broadband access across the state. He has also supported education efforts that give students the 'critical skills necessary for the 21st century workplace' during his time as Governor of Ohio."

(Photos: AP; Jay LaPrete/AP; Business Insider)

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey (R) vs. Katie McGinty (D)

Toomey

Telecom: D
Intellectual property: B+
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"Sen. Toomey opposed the USA Freedom Act and has been vocal in his opposition to net neutrality, hyperbolically and inaccurately calling it a 'massive government takeover.'"

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McGinty

Telecom: Incomplete
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: Incomplete
Talent: Incomplete

"She has said that she would have voted for the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reformpackage that passed in 2013 and included a number of reforms to high-skilled immigration. She has made vague statements on the issue of encryption."

(Photos: Matt Rourke/AP; J. Scott Applewhite/AP; Business Insider)

Wisconsin: Ron Johnson (R) vs. Russ Feingold (D)

Johnson

Telecom: D-
Intellectual property: C
Data privacy/security: A-
Talent: Incomplete

"Johnson’s overall score is weighed down in large part by his low marks on telecom issues, as his opposition to net neutrality and the FCC’s decision redefine broadband from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps puts him at odds with the vast majority of the tech community."

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Feingold

Telecom: A
Intellectual property: Incomplete
Data privacy/security: A
Talent: B+

"Feingold positioned himself as one of the strongest proponents of digital security and privacy, recognizing the value of strong encryption to the internet economy as far back as 1998 and presciently anticipating the wide-ranging negative consequences of the government’ssurveillance programs. He continues to argue that forced 'backdoors' would be a huge mistake."

(Photos: Scott Bauer/AP; Business Insider)

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