Secure elections are resilient: they can withstand and recover from cyberattacks and other threats.
Defining Election Security
Secure elections require evidence that voting technology and processes function reliably for voters and that votes were counted as cast.
Secure elections are reliable, meaning voters can cast an effective ballot without barriers. They are evidence-based and verifiable, meaning voters have confidence their ballots were received and recorded accurately, and election officials have procedures to check the vote counts. Transparency throughout the process engenders public trust and ensures fairness. Robust procedures and resiliency plans are employed to help ensure voters can continue to vote and are not disenfranchised by long lines or equipment failures.
Resilient elections require a way to recover from issues, malfunctions, or problems and still be able to show the correct outcome. The most resilient elections employ paper ballots verified by the voter as a true record of voter intent; robust chain of custody for ballots and equipment; strong security measures for both equipment and personnel; and sound post-election audits to check the election outcome. Read more below in our Election Security 101 series.
Election Security 101:
Election security practices that prioritize voters and strengthen our democracy
Voters have access to reliable, trusted information about elections
Election officials have the resources to safely do their jobs and are free from harassment
Voters can register to vote, they can look up their registration information, and the registration information is kept secure
Voting equipment is available and functioning correctly, minimizing opportunities for voter disenfranchisement
Voters receive their correct, complete ballot
Accessible voting systems are available for voters who want to use them
Voters mark and check their own physical paper ballots
Voters can cast their ballots safely and privately
Ballots are kept secure throughout the process
Election officials can provide strong evidence to the public that the winner won and the loser lost
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Election security fundamentally impacts trust in our elections
Voting technology—like any other technology—might fail, and strong safeguards and resiliency measures can protect voters and our democracy.
Vulnerabilities provide space for attacks on democracy to operate, whether via an actual attack or propagandistic disinformation. The need for evidence-based elections to counter fears of hacking or claims of fraud has never been clearer.
Our democracy depends upon transpartisan work to give the public accurate information about how our elections work. Election officials, government spokespeople, journalists, social media platforms, activists, and civil society organizations must tell the story together.
Election Protection Hotline
Verified Voting is a leading member of the Election Protection coalition, a nonpartisan coalition of more than 300 member organizations working to ensure all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have their votes count. Verified Voting connects election equipment experts to 866-OUR-VOTE hotline volunteers, poll workers, and election officials to respond to election equipment failures. Verified Voting also advises the Election Protection coalition on the election security landscape and connects Election Protection members to experts in the field, including members of our team, election officials, our Board, and our Board of Advisors.