2019 National Election Integrity Conference

The National Voting Rights Task Force, a non-partisan voting rights organization, will host its third National Election Integrity Conference on October 5-6, from 10 am to 6 pm in Berkeley, at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street, corner of Ashby Avenue, near the Ashby BART station.

Entitled The Coming 2020 Election Crisis: In Paper We Trust, the conference features more than 20 nationally-recognized leaders in the election integrity movement, covering crucial issues, sharing ideas, solving problems, and creating a strategy for the future of our elections system. The focus is still mainly on cybersecurity, voting machines, and election audits, but it has expanded to include open source election system software and the wider issues of both voter suppression (registration problems, gerrymandering, purging of voter registration rolls, hindrances to getting out the vote), and voter misdirection (deceptive election day announcements, fraudulent Facebook ads, and the organized campaigns like that of Cambridge Analytica). Election activists are investigating and uncovering these problems, fighting them by publicizing, litigating, organizing, and explaining what we all need to know and can do to help everyone be able to vote, have all the valid votes counted as cast, and verify that the real winners are the ones reported by the election systems in all the states.

Conference speakers include:

Click here to register. Conference tickets are $30 per day, or $50 for both days if purchased in advance, with discounts for seniors, teachers, students, and educational administrators or staff members. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

For background and an idea of what to expect you can look at the 2017 National Election Integrity Conference, which includes summaries and videos of every presentation. And read our article about the 2017 conference.

If you want to learn more about Indivisible East Bay’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team, and how you can help, email us at info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Graphic: National Voting Rights Task Force

Day of Action to Secure our Elections

Deadline: 9/17 Day of Action –

We’ve spoken before of the threat to our elections from foreign interference and the need to provide funding for our state and local governments to defend the foundation of our democracy. We aren’t the only ones deeply concerned: Several major pro-democracy organizations collaborated on a webinar and call to action to ensure we get that funding. They explained the problems, spoke to election security experts in both research and in government, and provided a concrete set of actions we can take in the next weeks, building up to a day of action on September 17.

Keep reading for a selection of actions you can take; and below that, info about what the webinar covered, with links to videos and other resources.

What you can do – Actions to Secure Our Elections

Whether you want to do something with other people, or make calls, or write letters, there’s an action for you among the actions to Secure Our Elections. And to make it easy, all the action links take you to easy-to-use forms that walk you through the process:

  1. Sign up to host or participate in a Secure Our Vote Day of Action on September 17. The goal is to reach out to Senators voting on election security funding in as many states as possible. If there’s a day of action near you, RSVP to join it. If not, they can help you organize one: click the red Click to Host button to find out how.
  2. Call your elected officials about election security funding, starting NOW, to build up pressure on them before September 17.
    • To call your Senators, use the hotline at 833-413-5906 – it walks you through all the steps and makes it very easy.
    • Call governors and state legislators to ask if they’ve used the money provided to their states for election security. They’re ultimately responsible for how the money is spent; and since they’re rarely held to account for this, enough calls will make them sit up and notice.
  3. Write a letter to the editor. Election security doesn’t get enough press, and when it does it gets lost in the noise. If the press believes this issue is gaining traction they will cover it more intensely before the deadline. Enter your zip code into the link, and the super-helpful tool will not only identify the newspapers in your area, it provides a template to write your letter!

And last but definitely not least: Pass this information onThese actions, like the problem they’re addressing, are national. Even deep red states have officials who care about their elections. Even deep blue states have officials who need to hear how important the issue is. The above tools are intended to make it as easy as possible for people to carry them out in any state. Let your family, friends, and contacts in other states know that they can participate and why they should and what they can do.

More info: the webinar and resources

The Election Security Movement webinar was organized by Public Citizen in collaboration with Mueller Book Club, People For The American Way, Stand Up America, Clean Elections Texas, Democracy 21, New American Leaders and Stand Up! For Democracy in DC.

The speakers:

  • Aquene Freechild of Public Citizen and Secure Our Vote led the call. She asked questions of the other speakers and summarized both the current security issues and the actions we can take.
    • Short video summarizing issues
    • video summarizing actions (relevant portion starts at 01:07:15; length, 1 minute)
  • Christine Wood of Public Citizen explained the Day of Action.
    • video (relevant portion:starts at 00:28:44; length, 16 ½ minutes)
  • Liz Wally of Clean Elections Texas spoke on how to contact Senators. Yes, even in Texas!
  • Harri Hursti, co-founder of the DEFCON Voting Village (which allows participants to try to hack into voting systems), spoke about actual vulnerabilities in voting systems. His messages were technical but very approachable.
    • video (relevant portion starts at 00:08:12; length, 23 minutes)
  • Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a longtime leader in calling for election security, explained how serious the threat is, and how to make our actions count. He emphasized that public officials respond to public pressure! Calling Senators is valuable whether they strongly agree, strongly disagree, or are neutral. He also stressed that election officials need about a year to get a new system in place, so the next few months will decide whether the 2020 elections are secure.
    • video (relevant portion starts at 00:51:10; length, 16 ½ minutes)


If you want to learn more about IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team, and how you can help, email us at info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack. For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Take action to secure our elections

Deadline: call your MoCs, and register now for 8/20 webinar –

The evidence is clear: in 2016, Russia targeted voting systems in all 50 states and used social media to spread disinformation and disunity among the electorate. The entire national security community agrees that election interference in 2016 was only a preview of what’s to come – unless Congress acts to provide our states and counties with the money they need to secure our voting systems and make our most fundamental right as easy to exercise as possible.

The House rose to the challenge and passed H.R. 3351, a funding bill that would allocate $600 million to states and localities, so that they can protect voter data and replace paperless voting systems with hand-marked paper ballots and scanners. Yet the Senate has failed to move forward at all – thanks to Mitch McConnell, who has refused to allow any election security bills to even come up for a vote.

We have a chance to win that $600+ million to secure our elections by the the last day of September, which is the Congressional funding deadline. We recently wrote about how to address this funding with our own Members of Congress (you can still take that action, see #2, below). Now Public Citizen, in collaboration with the Mueller Book Club and several other elections groups across the country, are organizing much greater efforts to pressure Congress to fund secure elections. Election security is national security and the work to achieve it must be national as well. You can get informed and learn how to help by registering for the election security movement webinar call: “Secure the Vote: Holding Mitch McConnell and his Senate enablers accountable.”

What you can do:

1. Sign up to join the webinar call on Tuesday, August 20 at 5:30 PM, and then join in to take action!

2. Contact your Members of Congress to urge them to treat election security funding as a national security issue.

What to say if your representative is Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) or Barbara Lee (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. _________ for voting for $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like them to speak out publicly to persuade the public and their colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661

What to say if your representative is Eric Swalwell (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. Swalwell for his public efforts on election security. I’d like him to use his position on the Intelligence Committee to persuade his colleagues that voting for the $600 million for election security funded by H.R. 3351 is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What to say to our Senators:

  • To Senator Dianne Feinstein, on the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841:

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House Appropriations Committee has authorized $600 million for election security. I’d like the Senator to use her position on the Appropriations Committee to resist any attempts to remove election security money from the final budget, and also work to persuade her Senate colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • To Senator Kamala Harris, on the Senate Intelligence Committee (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House has voted to authorize $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like the Senator to work to persuade her colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

3. Spread the word to people in other states, particularly those whose Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee (they will decide if election security funding remains in the budget) or the Senate Intelligence Committee (they’re in the best position to understand the details of foreign interference in 2016 and 2018).

4. Watch for local events calling on the Senate to fund election security on Tuesday. Sept. 17 as part of the nationwide Secure Our Vote Day of Action. Nothing planned near you? Sign up to host one!

5. For more background and information, read our June 27, 2019 article, Election Security IS National Security. If you want to learn more about IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team, and how you can help, email us at info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack.  For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Heidi Rand contributed to this article

Photograph “Moscow Mitch” by Becker1999 

IEB meeting with Rep. DeSaulnier 8/5/19

August 5, 2019 meeting with Representative Mark DeSaulnier and Indivisible East Bay’s CA-11 Team. 

Present: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier and Shanelle Scales Preston, District Director for Rep. DeSaulnier 

Read our memorandum to Rep. DeSaulnier here.

  • Immigration (CBP/HHS/Flores Settlement
    • $4.6 billion in border aid without any accountability
    • DeSaulnier: there were long caucuses on this – Problem Solvers Caucus wouldn’t support the above aid
    • 45 plays to race – he is good at it
    • This is about accountability 
    • Russians trying to disrupt politics – get people to be divisive
    • Only accountability at this point is if judge finds e.g. Secretary of DHS in contempt
  • Election Security 
    • Republicans are used to suppressing votes – it is part of their culture – “this is what we do in the South/Midwest.”
    • Need an audit trail
    • Social media is most alarming – they prime traditional media through social media
    • What can Oversight Committee do:
      • We have to stay in it
      • Need to hold hearings and let the public know
      • They are trying to build staff up on all committees – particularly with Oversight. Noted that budget for Congressional staff has been slashed since Gingrich was Speaker.
      • Keep having hearings – asked us to let him know what ideas we have. Work with Indivisible National to share ideas with others
    • Can members of congress model the right policies:
      • Blue states can pilot – take pieces of HR1 and try it at the local level 
      • Rep. DeSaulnier: We can try it. Apply pressure strategically and make them know who is on their side – Groups like Indivisible should work in swing states to help message this
      • We have to worry about CA too – he is worried about registrars here too – ex: Fresno 
    • How can Rep. DeSaulnier use his committee assignments to be impactful:
      • Can do lots of little things to have great impact
      • He wants help with the language with regards to all of our smaller recommendations that can lead to greater impact
      • “There will be vehicles on Election Security because it is important.” (presumably referring to future legislation)
  • Impeachment Inquiry
    • Wanted his name on it, but feels that this is a choice of conscience
    • Understands why Speaker Pelosi is concerned about it
    • Democrats who are not behind it are worried it will be like Clinton
    • Need to bring people along – Pelosi: “With public sentiment anything is possible”
    • Should focus on 2020
    • House Judiciary Committee Chair Nadler is pushing to get leverage from judges, Pelosi proceeding through action on multiple committees.
  • White Supremacist Terrorism
    • (Affected the tone of what we discussed but we didn’t explicitly get to it)
  • FY20 Budget Negotiations
    • Supplemental has gone in
      • Will be assertive about how they spend the money
      • Supplemental appropriations are bills enacted after the regular annual appropriations act to pay for situations too urgent to wait until the next year. 
    • Is there going to be a lawsuit? 
      • Multiple ones – mostly from ACLU but they lack infrastructure to deal with this corruption
      • His staff will get more for us
    • Progressive and Hispanic caucuses unified on various prohibitions asked for in Memo

If you want more info about the CA-11 Team, contact co-leads Ted and Kristen at indivisibleca11@gmail.com. Or if you’re on Slack, contact @Ted Lam or @KristenL and join the moc_team_ca11 team. Want an invite to join Slack? Please drop us a line at info@indivisibleeb.org

Meeting notes by IEB and CA-11 Team members Kristen, Toni and Ion

Photograph of Rep. DeSaulnier with Toni, Kristen, Janis, and Ion

IEB Meeting with Sen. Harris staff June 2019

Meeting with Senator Kamala Harris’ staff, June 25, 2019
From Sen. Harris’ office: Daniel “Dino” Chen, Deputy State Director 

Read Indivisible East Bay’s pre-meeting memorandum

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • Iran & the Middle East: We thanked Senator Harris for cosponsoring the Protection Against Unconstitutional War on Iran Act and demanding the status of mobilizing troops for war from the Administration. Dino said he’d check with the DC team regarding the Senator’s position on nuclear force
  • National Defense Authorization Act: we thanked the Senator for voting no. Dino will get back to us regarding the Senator’s position on the Udall-Paul Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to prevent illegal military action in Iran. (As of publication, Sen. Harris voted for the amendment, according to Senate records)
  • Migrant Detention Centers: Advocates expressed concern regarding lack of Congressional oversight of federal detention centers, especially private ones. Dino indicated that the Senator was a leader in a rapid response network to provide legal counsel to detainees and that her “number one priority” right now is addressing the immigration crisis. He’ll get an answer for us on our request for a commitment from the Senator to vote NO on any emergency response bill that does not specifically address migrant youth. He’ll also find out if there is still Congressional oversight if migrants are transferred to Fort Sill, OK.
  • Election Security: We discussed the $600 million appropriation in the House to enhance election security that Senate leadership is unwilling to take up.
  • American Family Act: We thanked the Senator for cosponsoring
  • Impeachment: Dino indicated that the Senator would support opening impeachment proceedings. He did not commit to whether or not the Senator would ask Speaker Pelosi to start these proceedings.
  • Census: Sen. Harris agrees with us about the importance of building trust in under-represented communities and ensuring we are set up for a complete count in the 2020 census.  Dino recommended that advocates connect with their local Complete Count Committee to support these efforts.
  • Public Appearances by Senator Harris: We expressed concern about the Senator’s lack of presence in the community in her official capacity, and asked that her team consider organizing periodic town halls/forums to help her connect with constituents. Dino said they’re trying their hardest to get her to the Bay Area but it’s hard because they aren’t allowed to coordinate with the campaign, who obviously want her in key primary states.  She is, however, almost confirmed to attend the Lake Tahoe Summit.
  • Healthcare: Dino indicated that next month’s focus will be on health care, and they’ll be doing some story banking on that subject.

 

– By IEB member Zach

IEB Meeting with Sen. Feinstein Staff June 2019

Meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Staff, June 20, 2019
1 Post St., San Francisco

From Sen. Feinstein’s office: Jim Lazarus, State Director; Abigail Ellis, Field Representative; two interns

Read Indivisible East Bay’s pre-meeting memorandum

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • Climate Change & Infrastructure: Climate change and rising sea levels (a consequence of climate change) affect infrastructure, including roads and bridges. We asked whether Sen. Feinstein is working to include climate change in infrastructure legislation; Jim Lazarus said not that he knew of, but that he’d let the Senator know about our concern.
  • Iran and the Middle East/AUMF Repeal & Defense Appropriations Bill: Lazarus expressed frustration that Sen. Feinstein has tried repeatedly to contact Secretary of State Pompeo, who hasn’t returned any of her calls. He said that Feinstein supports the nuclear treaty with Iran and does not support the US withdrawal from it OR the unilateral use of force without authorization from Congress. Ellis said that Feinstein supports the repeal of the 2001 AUMF; Lazarus continued that in political reality, there will be a defense appropriations bill, and it will probably include a compromise on the AUMF repeal.
  • ICE and CBP Detention Facilities/Border Supplemental Appropriations Bill: We presented background information and recommended that the Senator view the recent argument of a Justice Department lawyer before a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel that CBP needed the authority to deny children sleep as well as access to basic hygiene. Lazarus agreed to do this. Feinstein’s staff has visited the detention facilities, and she is extremely concerned about how the children are being treated; Ellis said that the facilities are exploiting loopholes, which the Senator wants to close via legislation. As far as her staff knows, her thinking on the role of ICE has not changed.
  • American Dream and Promise Act: We asked Sen. Feinstein to move to proceed to a floor vote on the bill. Lazarus asked if anyone asked Sen. McConnell, and we pointed out that by Senate rules, any Senator can make a motion for a floor vote.
  • Judicial Nominations: We have asked Sen. Feinstein to vote NO on the floor on Trump’s judicial nominations even if she votes YES in the Judiciary committee. According to her staff, she has to maintain relationships and cooperation with some Republicans: for example, when Sen. Feinstein might seek support from some Republican Senators for judicial nominations she favors, especially of nominees from California—or of other legislative goals she supports.
  • Election Security: The Senator is concerned about election security. We urged Sen. Feinstein (and other Democratic Senators) to push back on Sen. McConnell, and were skeptical of Lazarus’ explanation that the GOP opposes election-security legislation because it traditionally favors “local control” and fears possible overreach from federal government standards for elections.
  • American Family Act of 2019: We expressed disappointment that Sen. Feinstein still hasn’t joined 38 of her colleagues in cosponsoring this legislation to help families with children. Lazarus said he didn’t know of any concerns keeping her from cosponsoring and implied she might be exploring alternatives.
  • Investigations & Oversight: We expressed concern that the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are not obtaining adequate information about the Mueller investigations and the previous FBI counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 election. Lazarus was unable to tell us what Sen. Feinstein is doing to ensure that the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which she is the ranking member, will finally obtain all the information it needs. 

 

– By IEB member Phil

Meeting with State Sen. Skinner, June 2019

Indivisible East Bay Meeting with State Senator Nancy Skinner, SD 9

June 28, 2019

From Sen. Skinner’s Office: State Senator Nancy Skinner, Margaret Hanlon-Gradie 

All notes reflect remarks by Senator Skinner unless otherwise noted.

Overview, some things that California can do to fight the federal government and make the state and local communities more livable:

  • Addressing wealth disparity; we used the budget to extended medical from undocumented children all the way up to 25-year-olds; we missed getting coverage for undocumented seniors because the Governor blocked it on budget concerns; we had a bill for student health programs to provide Plan B, but were vetoed by Brown – we’ve passed it again, and are confident Newsom will sign it.
  • Hanlon-Gradie: We plan to put out an ICE raid warning in two weeks.
  • ICE is contracting less with sheriffs because of monitoring and inspecting by the state. Yolo County had a juvenile in solitary for 9 months – our bill gave powers to the AG to inspect the jails and got that fixed. Caging kids may play to some in Trump’s base, but hurts him with the overall electorate.

Issues concerning sheriffs:

  • Aware of current sheriff eligibility bill that would require sheriffs to have gone to police academy. 
  • AB1185, bill for oversight over sheriffs, is up for a July 2 committee vote; worried about the Appropriations Committee – Anthony Portantino of La Cañada-Flintridge needs to be lobbied to pass it through committee.
  • Budget for deportation concerns: added $20MM to the general legal defense fund for tenant and immigrant defense, like East Bay Community Law Center. The more money that’s available in the big pool, the more will go to immigration defense.
  • Elected vs. appointed sheriffs: as it stands, appointed sheriffs won’t get put on the ballot because of the sheriffs’ power. Was unaware that sheriffs and district attorneys have no term limits; generally opposes term limits but would consider a bill to let counties impose them.

Election Security and voting rights:

  • IEB: could CA have an omnibus election security bills like HR1? Skinner: Lobby Lorena Gonzales (AD80) – she wants to be Secretary of State and this is an issue that could distinguish her.
  • Same day registration: Agrees with IEB that Motor Voter is not enough.
  • ACA 6, Constitutional amendment, parolee voting rights: Supports, and also supports SB310, which would allow former felons to serve on juries – a civil rights issue because a black man has a hard time getting a jury of his peers. (Some question about actual sponsorship of these bills.)

Miscellaneous legislation:

  • AB1593 (plastic pollution reduction): already included in budget; AB1080 (single use plastic ban bill): already in the senate as SB54 (and there’s a duplicate clause in a another bill before the senate) 
  • Supports AB1022 (anti hunger response training)
  • Supports tax credit for children but suggests we support Autumn Burke tax credit, which is similar 
  • AB5 (codifying and expanding the CA Supreme Court Dynamex case prohibiting employers from misclassifying employees as contractors vs. employees): Skinner supports the bill and is very unhappy that the Governor is going to block it. She suggests we lobby the Governor. 
  • SB168, creates a Chief Officer of Climate Resilience: Skinner will consider co-authoring.

Election Security IS National Security

Deadline: today and ongoing – If there’s one thing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been unequivocal about, it’s foreign interference in our elections – the subject of the entire first part of the Special Counsel’s Report, and a theme Mueller emphasized repeatedly in his May 27 statement

The Report lists many forms of election interference, but one challenge stands out: election security doesn’t get enough funding. The U.S. spends $650 to $700 billion on defense – that’s ¾ of a trillion dollars; $55 billion on homeland security; and $16 billion on cybersecurity in the defense department alone. Yet somehow we can’t manage to find more than $380 million to budget for election security, and we don’t even actually spend that. Election experts have been calling for more funding for years, but the calls have become much more urgent since the 2016 election made it clear how much of a threat we face.

The Mueller Report wasn’t news to those who’ve been paying attention: our intelligence agencies reported that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections as early as January 2017, and recently stated that Russia and China intend to do so again in 2020. To counteract these threats, a report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine calls for all local, state and and national elections to use only “human-readable paper ballots” by 2020, and security experts at Stanford listed 45 recommendations emphasizing the need for a multi-disciplinary nationwide effort.

This is as much an issue of national security as an armed threat. If we spend hundreds of billions on military expenditures and militarizing our borders but leave our elections undefended, we’re lowering the front gates while leaving the side doors wide open. Even worse, we do so knowing we were attacked in the past, are currently being attacked, and will be attacked in the future.

The House of Representatives is taking the issue seriously: the House Appropriations Committee voted for an appropriations bill with $600 million for election security to the proposed budget for 2020 (see page 70 of this PDF of the budget), and this money was part of H.R. 3351, the budget bill which the full House passed by a vote of 224 to 196 on June 26. The Senate is another story, however, repeatedly stalling election security bills.  

What you can do:

1. Contact your Members of Congress to urge them to treat election security funding as a national security issue.

What to say if your representative is Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) or Barbara Lee (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m calling to thank Rep. _________ for voting for $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like them to speak out publicly to persuade the public and their colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Mark DeSaulnier: (email); (510) 620-1000 • DC: (202) 225-2095
  • Rep. Barbara Lee: (email); (510) 763-0370 • DC: (202) 225-2661

What to say if your representative is Eric Swalwell (CA-13):

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I’m disappointed that Rep. Swalwell did not vote on H.R. 3351, which funds $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like him to speak out publicly to persuade the public and his colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell: (email); (510) 370-3322 • DC: (202) 225-5065

What to say to our Senators:

  • To Senator Dianne Feinstein, on the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841:

My name is _____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House Appropriations Committee has authorized $600 million for election security. I’d like the Senator to use her position on the Appropriations Committee to resist any attempts to remove election security money from the final budget, and also work to persuade her Senate colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

  • To Senator Kamala Harris, on the Senate Intelligence Committee (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553:

My name is ____, my zip code is ____, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. The House has voted to authorize $600 million for election security in the 2020 budget. I’d like the Senator to work to persuade her colleagues that election security funding is an issue of national security.

2. Spread the word to people in other states, particularly those whose Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee (they will decide if election security funding remains in the budget) or the Senate Intelligence Committee (they’re in the best position to understand the details of foreign interference in 2016 and 2018).

Photo of Vladimir Putin by the Kremlin

 

Make the candidates speak out

Deadline: through June 26, and even after – Do you have a favorite Presidential candidate yet? Do you know where the candidates stand on the big issues – and if you do, do you know it from their own statements?

Many of the candidates, to our dismay, haven’t taken a stand or enunciated a plan on some of the major issues facing us: climate change, endless war, women’s or LGBTQ+ rights, and more. We know: you’d probably vote for Godzilla over the Current Occupant. But we’re betting you’d rather make a more refined decision.


What you can do:

Let’s call (or email, or tweet, or your platform of choice) them on it.

Step one: Check what they say – or don’t say.

Below you’ll find a list of some of our top priorities – not meant to be exclusive! – and a list of the candidates’ websites. Do some cross-referencing. Start with your own favorite candidate, if you have one, and move on to others from there: What do the candidates say about your key issues, in how much detail, and how easy is it to find? A general rule for candidates’ sites: the easier something is to find on a site, the more important it is to the candidate.

Step two: Tell the candidates what you think.

To say what we all know: Candidates have been known to change their positions based on pressure. Are you pleased with the priority they’re giving your issues and what they’re saying? Thank them. Have they failed to address an issue? Demand that they address it, and tell them what you hope they’ll say. Have they taken a position you don’t like? Tell them. Especially tell the candidates if their position, or lack of a position, makes the difference between you supporting them, opposing them, or considering supporting someone else. After all, it’s all about getting your vote!

We’ve made it easy for you to contact the candidates. Click on their names in the list below to get to their campaign websites, which have ways you can contact them; we also list their campaigns’ facebook pages and twitter accounts.

Step three: Get your friends involved.

Got friends who don’t like the Current Occupant? Of course you do! Invite them to join you in the research. Encourage each other to speak up. You don’t even have to favor the same candidate to all support the work of pushing the candidates to take positions you want on the issues you care about.

And use your own social media. Try this cool tool from Indivisible National: you record a video telling the presidential candidates what you want to hear from the debate stage, and they’ll format and subtitle it and send you a link that you can spread by email and on your social media.

Step four: Let us know how it’s going!

We’d like to know who you’ve contacted on what issues, and if you hear back from them. Email us at info@indivisibleeb.org


Our (non-exclusive) list of priority issues, in alphabetical order:

  • Climate change
  • Cybersecurity
  • Economic justice
  • Education
  • Election security
  • Endless war
  • Healthcare
  • Immigration
  • Impeachment
  • Incarceration
  • Judiciary
  • LGBTQ+ rights
  • Reproductive rights
  • Science and technology
  • Social justice
  • Voters’ rights
  • Women’s rights


The
candidates, in alphabetical order (their names are links to their campaign websites).

 

Graphic “Debate picture” by Blok Glo

 

 

Building a Team to Secure Our Elections

By Haleh S

The security and integrity of U.S. elections has been heatedly discussed in public, and by the media and politicians, especially since our 2016 election. The terms election security and election integrity are often used interchangeably, with much of the recent focus on election security – generally referring to steps we take to protect voting machines from foreign or domestic hacking – because of Russia’s interference. Election integrity usually refers to preserving our democratic electoral processes, including voter registration, accessibility, ballot counting, vote audits, and generally protecting voter confidence in the system.

To ensure election integrity we must promote fair, credible, professional, and inclusive electoral processes. According to the Electoral Knowledge Network, without electoral integrity we can’t hold leaders and officials accountable to the public, and our confidence in election results is weakened. A 2016 Gallup poll revealed that only 35% of Americans were “very confident” that their vote would be counted accurately. Voter confidence in any democratic election process is one of the necessary elements of protecting the integrity of elections.

On May 19, 2019, the Secure Elections Network presented a webinar, “Making Connections: Working with Elections Officials for Common Goals,” featuring Tina Barton, the City Clerk of Rochester Hills, Michigan, and an election security advocate. Barton was appointed to Michigan’s Election Security Commission by the MI Secretary of State. The Commission, the first of its kind, was created in March 2019 to help boost voter confidence, increase turnout, and secure the integrity of elections against known and future threats such as hacking.

A passionate leader in protecting the electoral process, Barton wants to make the process fair and accessible to all eligible voters, and to increase voter confidence in elections. In her presentation, Barton highlighted current challenges with interactions between election officials and election advocates, and suggested ways to overcome them. We should benefit from each other’s strengths by collaborating, said Barton, stressing the importance of having a unified team of election officials and advocates to secure our 2020 and future elections. Her presentation featured Henry Ford’s motto: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together is success.” Some of her concrete suggestions were that officials and advocates communicate frequently to share information, work together to recognize and fix problems, present unified messaging on registration and voting, and hold events jointly.

In her “Open Letter to Advocates of All Things Election Related”, Barton encourages advocates and officials to work together to get correct information to voters. She’s also dedicated to stopping partisan interference and attacks on voter confidence, stating during the webinar that elections should be a nonpartisan battle ground.

We are not each other’s enemy

Barton noted that the majority of contacts between election officials and voting rights groups have been negative and adversarial. She believes that advocacy groups have the misconception that election officials and election workers seek to impede the process, and because of that election officials often feel they’re being attacked or are doing something wrong. Barton thinks these problems are often caused by lack of understanding of each other’s roles. She explained that in many small or rural municipalities, one official is responsible for a wide range of duties and responsibilities, with elections being only one. Often these officials lack the necessary technical knowledge about aspects of election security that advocates ask about. This misunderstanding often causes hostility between them, although in reality both sides want the same things — secure electoral processes.

Another cause of mistrust and confusion between advocacy groups and election workers is that every state’s election process and registration is different. For example, in some states — such as Barton’s (Michigan) — local officials run elections, whereas in other states county clerks do so. Barton also noted that most election officials’ main complaint is a lack of resources, including the scarcity of election workers who are knowledgeable about information technology (IT). In her community, most election workers are retired adults who have been out of the workforce for years. They work long hours on election days and a lot of expectations are placed on them, but they’re not IT experts and this is one cause of negative and adversary interactions between the election workers and poll monitors.

Let’s work together, not against each other

When asked by one of the Secure Elections Network members how to overcome the mistrust and open a dialogue with election officials, Barton suggested person-to-person, face-to-face introductions. She said that advocates should simply go meet the officials. She emphasized that one of the best ways to build trust is for advocates to start by asking how they can help. She believes that when we work together toward a shared cause, whether or not we have the same political views, we will respect one another more and help solve problems together rather than finger-pointing and blaming. She also noted that activist groups could help under-funded counties which don’t have the resources to hire enough election workers or hire workers who are IT knowledgeable. Every election official in the country needs help with setting up and explaining basic IT, and knowledgeable advocates who want to improve things can be of real use.

The Secure Elections Network is made up of leaders and members of several Indivisible groups nationwide, including Indivisible East Bay. For more info about the webinar, email stephanie.chaplin20@gmail.com. Watch “Building a Team To Secure Our Elections” webinar here. You can watch SEN’s past webinars here. And read our articles about prior webinars: Ballot Marking Devices 101 and Indivisible Webinar to Secure Our Elections  

If you want to learn more about the work that IEB’s Voter Rights & Election Integrity team is doing, and how you can help, email us at info@IndivisibleEB.org, or join the #voting-issues channel on IEB’s Slack.  For an invitation to join Slack, email: info@IndivisibleEB.org

Haleh S. is an Engineer turned Lawyer, turned Activist