By Jennifer Tanner and Ion Y. Lulu Friesdat consulted on this article.
Deadline: December 13 –
You know our elections are under threat, and that our election security and infrastructure need urgent attention. You also know there are known and workable solutions to our voting systems’ problems, but that Congress is blocking the funding. But most people don’t even know about the problems, let alone that solutions exist. If only we had a forum where millions of people could hear these problems and answers being discussed …
Fortunately there IS such a forum, and WE ALL have an opportunity to be heard! PBS and Politico are hosting the December 19 Democratic debate, and they’re asking US what we want them to ask the candidates. Well, we want them to ask about the nation’s election security problems, and to hear the candidates discuss solutions.
More info/What you can do:
By Friday, December 13, submit a question for the December debate by filling out PBS’s form and Politico’s form. Both forms ask the same two questions shown below – you can cut and paste our answers directly into the forms.
And spread the word – we need as many people as possible to ask them to explore this critical issue, so please send them the link to this article!
What question(s) should we ask on the debate stage?
With so much at stake in 2020, we need to make sure our elections are not vulnerable to hacking or mistakes. See, for instance, https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/464065-voting-machines-pose-a-greater-threat-to-our-elections-than-foreign-agents. We need voting machines and systems to be disconnected from the internet. In addition we need hand-marked paper ballots, recognized as the most trustworthy way to cast votes; and, for voters who need assistance, non-tabulating ballot marking devices. Voting this way provides tangible, reliable evidence that can be used as part of a robust manual audit or recount to ensure election results are correct. And we need you, the candidates for President, to speak about this and give it the attention it deserves.
As President, what will you do to ensure the security and integrity of our elections?
Why do you want the candidates to answer this question?
Whether you are progressive or conservative, all of the issues that you care about are decided by our elections – yet candidates are rarely asked what they intend to do to repair our elections, which are in frightening need of attention. Our elections are under attack. Protecting them is critical to our national security and fundamental to our democracy.
The most important thing when conducting an election securely is to be able to verify that the final vote count is correct. Voting machines are just computers. Computers can be hacked (see, for instance, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/opinion/election-voting-machine-hacking-russians.html (4 minute video)) and they can make mistakes. Experts recommend ballots must be marked by hand, or marked by a non-tabulating voting machine for those needing assistance, and counted by hand to collect sound statistical evidence that the outcome is correct. If ballots are created this way, and have a secure chain of custody, then a robust manual audit or recount can always determine the correct winner.