Many of us were shocked by the results of the 2016 election, and months later still grapple with an ever-growing pile of reasons that added up to the Democrats’ devastating losses. But most of the 100+ experts and activists at the October 7-8 Take Back the Vote Conference were not surprised; to them the results were the predictable outcome of problems they’ve been warning about and working on for years.
Hard truth time: no matter how many voter registration and get out the vote drives we run, no matter how many hours we spend canvassing and phone or text-banking, our efforts will amount to a hill of uncounted ballots if we don’t restore the soundness of our election infrastructure.
The non-partisan conference “to advance the conduct of American elections – how votes are collected, counted and cast,” featured 25 speakers, a Who’s Who of nationally recognized election integrity experts and activists, computer scientists, professors, lawyers, journalists and election officials as well as federal, state and local legislators. They presented findings, shared and debated ideas, and answered tough questions. To see their bios, click the “speakers” link on the NVRTF website, and view or download the Conference program at the “schedule” link.
The audience, ranging from seasoned activists to new volunteers, passionately discussed necessary next steps and strategies to restore publicly verified democracy in the United States. The issues are complex, many have no easy answers, and reasonable minds differ about best practices. In coming weeks we’ll follow up this conference report with in-depth looks at issues covered, including:
- propaganda and political communication
- internet voting and cybersecurity risks
- open source election software
- election suppression
- auditing options; including risk limiting, hand-count, two-tier, and digital ballot audits
Despite differing opinions on issues, had we taken a vote at the conference it likely would’ve been unanimous that our country is careening down the path of having our democracy stolen from us, and that protecting our elections from internal and external attacks will take ALL of us becoming educated, engaged, and involved in the process.
What can you do? Get involved! A good start – watch videos of the conference at the “videos” tab of the Voting Rights facebook page. Next, work with IEB’s voting issues team – no experience necessary, we’ll get you up to speed! Email us for info.
And to learn Everything You Wanted to Know About Voting But Were Afraid to Ask, check out these websites:
- National Voting Rights Task Force and NVRTF facebook page
- Election Integrity Project
- California Election Integrity Project
- Jim Soper (CA): Counted As Cast
- Trust Vote
- Jan BenDor (MI): Michigan Election Reform Alliance
- Barbara Simon: Verified Voting
- Ray Lutz: Citizen Oversight
- Jonathan Simon (MA): Election Defense Alliance
- John Brakey (AZ): Election Nightmares
- Paul Thomas (MA): Voter Choice Massachusetts
- Karen McKim (WI): Wisconsin Election Integrity
- Peter Peckarsky (WI)
- Philip B. Stark, Berkeley Statistician, Audit expert
- Chris Jerdonek, SF Elections Commissioner & President
- Lulu Friesdat: Holler Back Film
- Emma Briant (UK): Election Propaganda on Social Media
- Mimi Kennedy: LA Progressive, Article on California AB 840
- Bev Harris: Black Box Voting
- Brad Friedman: The Brad Blog
- Election Defense
- National Popular Vote