Deadline: November 13 Day of Action –
We’ve written before about the state of our elections and the security, or rather the profound lack of security, of our voting machines. We’ve told you about foreign interference and the desperate need for money to actually secure our votes. We’ve mentioned that there is $600 million authorized for securing our voting machines if only it can get past the Senate, and we’ve asked you to take action on this.
But – we’re not John Oliver. He wants to ask you the same thing and he has a very funny but very serious take on voting machines. Here’s just a sampling of what you can learn from watching him explain the rickety and unstable edifice that elections in America are built on:
- A security expert shows how to get full access over a voting machine, currently used in 18 states, in two minutes. You mostly press some buttons; the one piece of physical security is a lock picked by a ballpoint pen.
- Two minutes? Voting machines are left unattended in many jurisdictions for days or weeks before the actual election.
- Many voting machines haven’t received security updates since the mid-2000s. Some were bought over the pleas of the Election Assistance Commission because they were completely untested. Some are so old their touch screens are peeling off and registering votes incorrectly.
- Electronic voting systems used by millions of voters leave no paper record of votes taken on them. Massive errors like swapping which candidates get which votes can only be discovered by sheer chance. Every voting machine can fail or be tampered with – but properly designed audits could catch these problems, IF they were required by law and funded.
- The only completely accurate Trump quote you’ll ever hear on Oliver’s show. No really! It’s about why paper ballots are critical and electronic voting machines are dangerous.
Having fun yet? If you have 20 minutes, you’ll be glad you watched the whole thing. Then come back here, or just read on for the important part, when we tell you what you can do about these problems.
Our election systems are in dire need of upkeep and real security, and the money to make that happen is currently blocked in Congress. We need to persuade the Senators standing in the way that these funds are critical to our national security and our democracy, and that this money must be disbursed with rules in place to make sure it’s actually used to make sure we can vote without interference.
This message is not getting out, but you can amplify it to make sure it’s heard before the budget process ends for the year on Thursday November 21.
What you can do about it, by next week:
Secure Our Vote, which hosted a similar event in September, is planning a Day of Action on Wednesday November 13 to draw attention to this vote and to the Senators voting on it. You can:
- Join an existing rally scheduled near you on November 13.
- There’s a visit at Senator Feinstein’s office at 1 Post St., Post & Market, San Francisco, at noon.
- RSVP to join any other rally by clicking on the Sign Up Now link below it.
- Remember: even a few people showing up will matter!
- Sign up to host a rally outside Senate offices on November 13.
- You don’t have to figure out how to do it! When you sign up they’ll send you detailed instructions and support. You can also watch this very useful video (one hour) explaining how to host.
- These don’t have to be large rallies! Even a dozen people appearing to ask about election security at each Senate office helps push this process into the light.
- Sign up for a drop in visit with your Senators on November 12.
- Encourage people you know to attend rallies scheduled near them.
- Call your elected officials about election security funding, starting NOW, to build up pressure on them leading to November 13. Use the hotline at 833-413-5906 – it walks you through all the steps and makes it very easy.
- Learn more about what you need to know to make elections safe at Secure Our Vote’s Election Security Organizing Worksheet. This is, for better and for worse, an ongoing fight. The questions they teach you to ask are critical to understanding how to help elections be safe in your districts and states.
Photo of John Oliver by Steve Jennings for TechCrunch