Defending Fair Elections: Safeguarding our Voting Systems
If you want to work on safeguarding our voting systems, start with the basics.
1. Learn about your state.
Click on "The Verifier" and learn how your state - even county - votes. What equipment are you using, does it leave a paper trail, and if so, what kind?
posted an extremely helpful report grading each state on its voting and registration system security as of February 12, 2018.
See it here.
has an excellent website where you can search for each state’s recount and audit laws.
Pew Charitable Trust
ranks states by 17 measures.
2. Recruit other interested constituents, especially those with a technology or legal background.
Recruiting other constituents to join you in defending fair elections is the single most important thing you can do. A great way to start: organize showings of Electoral Dysfunction, or iVoted? Both are amusing for a general audience, but make the point of how disorganized our election systems and laws are. Once they are interested in the problem, talk to them about getting to know your election officials, and set up a meeting.
3. Call up your election officials, or go visit, and introduce yourself.
...politely and kindly. This isn't the stuff of Congressional confrontation. Ask them what they're working on these days, and what their challenges are. Listen. Don't put them on the spot, asking if they approve of other officials' actions. Don't ask if they think your state is conducting elections effectively. You'll need a cooperative relationship of trust, in order to work with them to make change. So act accordingly.
4. Invite your election officials to your group, or ask them to meet with you.
Giving election officials a chance to talk about what they do, and how they do it, opens up the public conversation in a non-accusative way. Ask them about their experiences, about what they find easy and hard about their job, about what laws they might change if they could change one. Your goal, in your first meeting, is not advocacy but simply learning about their challenges, experiences, and perspective.
5. Keep up the conversation, sending them information in digestible chunks.
- The September 2016 report of Computer Science Professor Andrew Appel, which recommended both paper ballots and statistical manual audits. https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2016-09-28-Appel-Princeton-Testimony.pdf
- The November 2017 written congressional testimony of Professor Matt Blaze (University of Pennsylvania), which also recommended both paper ballots and statistical “risk limiting” audits for every race. https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Blaze-UPenn-Statement-Voting-Machines-11-29.pdf
- The letter from 100 experts calling for paper ballots and statistical risk limiting audits in federal elections. This document addressed only federal elections because it was drafted in anticipation of the federal Secure Elections Act, but the same reasoning and urgency applies to state and local races and referendums. https://www.electiondefense.org/election-integrity-expert-letter/
- The report from the 2017 Def Con Hacking Village Conference. https://www.defcon.org/images/defcon-25/DEF%20CON%2025%20voting%20village%20report.pdf
- The academic report titled “Evidence-based Elections” by Professor of Statistics Philip B. Stark (U.C. Berkeley) and Professor of Electrical Engineering David A. Wagner (U.C. Berkeley) re: the need for paper ballots, risk limiting audits, and a secure chain of custody between Election Night and the audit. https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~stark/Preprints/evidenceVote12.pdf
- The Bush Center report on election security, including recommendation for paper ballots. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2018/01/we-should-be-hardening-our-defenses.html