WHO TO LOOK TO FOR GUIDANCE?
YOUR ACTIONS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Recently in Shelby County Tennessee a consortium of election protection groups led by local advocates persuaded local officials NOT to buy touch screen voting machines, which security experts say are vulnerable to errors and hacking. This may allow the county to approve a hand-marked paper ballot system. Experts recommend that type of system, except for voters who are unable to mark by hand. We can all improve elections by supporting these local groups who are usually the most knowledgeable about best election practices for their community.
EVALUATING & MESSAGING
LOOK FOR EVIDENCE
Look for original evidence of how voters intended to vote. This could include:
SUPPORT FEDERAL LEGISLATION
H.R.1 /S,1 (For the People Act has passed the House, and is waiting on a Senate vote. It would:
HR1 /S1 is a visionary, once-in-a-generation effort to improve the functionality, fairness, and security of U.S. elections. It will address multiple, systemic, ongoing problems in our elections. We fully support its passage. We have some specific concerns and comments regarding the security, accessibility, campaign finance reform, auditing, and election protocol provisions of H.R. 1 / S.1. Our full recommendations for changes are here.
America relies on technology to a much greater extent than other democracies, many of whom count their ballots by hand, in public.
The technology that we use is often insecure, outdated and sold to jurisdictions at inflated prices.
This is partly due to an almost complete lack of regulation of election equipment. According to the Brennan Center, "The federal government regulates colored pencils ... more stringently than it does America’s election infrastructure."
The federal agency that oversees voting technology, the Election Assistance Commission, has no regulatory power. They can only make voluntary recommendations.
Hackers at DEF CON, an annual international hackers conference, have been able to successfully hack many of the voting machines currently in use for 3 years in a row.
Our elections are under attack by foreign adversaries.
Election and government officials often say that although we are under attack, there is no evidence that votes have been changed. There is also not much evidence that votes have not been changed - because we don't gather much evidence about our election results. The National Election Defense Coalition estimates, "Less than a quarter of states do a post-election audit that manually examines the paper ballots which could catch an error in the election results."
Furthermore, election officials usually audit themselves. This is not considered best practices for an audit.
Because they are subject to so little oversight and auditing, our elections are also vulnerable to insider rigging and undetected errors,
Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and it is imperative that we improve our infrastructure, administration and best practices for better security and accuracy. This will give us more confidence in our election results.
Here are a few steps that can be taken to improve the accuracy and security of our elections now and in the future:
SMART Elections has a Public Oversight Project called #CountTheVote. Local election protection groups took photos and video of polltapes on election night during the 2020 General Election, and the 2021 Special Senate Election in Georgia. We are now doing public records requests to gather more information based on discrepancies that were revealed in the data. By looking carefully at election documents we can help make sure elections are accurate and increase public confidence. Anyone can help.
We also need funding to continue our work. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
We need to make many changes in order for our democracy to fulfill its promise of allowing every eligible person to vote, and for those votes to be counted in a way that is accessible, accurate, fair, inclusive, secure, transparent and publicly verifiable. Here is a list of recommended reforms that emerged from a documentary we produced about why more people don't vote and participate politically. Here are the categories that relate to technology:
WE NEED ELECTIONS THAT ARE:
WE NEED BETTER LEGISLATION
HR1 (For the People Act) and The SAFE Act have both passed the House and need to pass the Senate. Both bills would provide welcome improvements to our election infrastructure and protocols. (See middle of page.)
Copyright © 2021 SMART Elections - All Rights Reserved.