The following is a statement and letter from Verified Voting in support of election security reforms outlined in For the People Act (H.R.1/S.949). For additional media inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILADELPHIA (January 5, 2021) — “Voter-verifiable paper ballots and post-election audits are needed to increase election security, which is why Verified Voting is supporting specific measures in H.R.1, the For the People Act, designed to help safeguard our elections from both legitimate threats of interference and baseless claims of fraud.
“In a letter to members of the 117th Congress, Verified Voting explains why moving toward risk-limiting audits (RLAs) will advance efforts to protect and ensure trustworthy elections:
“‘While most states audit their vote counts in some way, right now, only a few conduct mandatory post-election RLAs. RLAs offer an efficient and effective way to check and confirm the reported election outcome. While H.R.1 falls short of requiring all states to conduct RLAs, grant opportunities are a step in the right direction and will reduce the financial hurdle that many states face. Ultimately, nationwide adoption of RLAs will provide a crucial line of national defense against threats to voting systems (both real and perceived).’
“In addition to RLAs, Verified Voting also supports:
- Paper ballots that all voters can verify are a trustworthy record of votes cast in an election and can be used to check the election outcome, and if needed, conduct a full hand recount; and
- Broad federal material and technical support for replacing and securing voting systems and election infrastructure – and explicitly treat electronic poll books as part of voting systems.
“The 2020 election showed that public confidence in our elections and democracy is at a tipping point. The common-sense, bipartisan-supported election security measures in H.R.1 should be a priority for Congress and Verified Voting looks forward to working with members of Congress to support safe, secure and fair federal elections.”
Read the full letter here:
Dear Members of Congress,
As the 117th Congress begins considering legislation, Verified Voting supports the key election security provisions in H.R.1, the For the People Act. The 2020 election highlighted the importance of paper ballots and post-election audits for verifying election outcomes, which helps safeguard our elections from both legitimate threats of interference and baseless claims of fraud.
H.R. 1 contains election security measures that have bipartisan support and funding for states to continue the essential work of conducting our elections. Verified Voting specifically supports the following measures:
Move all jurisdictions to use paper ballots in future federal elections. Paper ballots that all voters can verify are a trustworthy record of votes cast in an election. These ballots can be used to check the election outcome, and if needed, conduct a full hand recount. Voting systems that do not provide a voter-verifiable paper ballot should not be used. Voting systems must also provide a way for voters with disabilities to mark their ballots safely and anonymously and provide a means for the voters to verify their selections.
Provide funding for states to conduct risk-limiting audits. A risk-limiting audit (RLA) manually checks the reported vote counts using a random sample of voters’ ballots. RLAs provide a basis for public confidence in the reported outcomes – or trigger a hand recount if needed. While most states audit their vote counts in some way, right now, only a few conduct mandatory post-election RLAs. RLAs offer an efficient and effective way to check and confirm the reported election outcome. While H.R.1 falls short of requiring all states to conduct RLAs, grant opportunities are a step in the right direction and will reduce the financial hurdle that many states face. Ultimately, nationwide adoption of RLAs will provide a crucial line of national defense against threats to voting systems (both real and perceived).
Give broad federal material and technical support to replace and secure voting systems and election infrastructure – and explicitly treat electronic poll books as part of voting systems. Verified Voting collects comprehensive data of voting equipment in use around the country. Federal support is needed for moving jurisdictions to replace unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems with voter-marked paper ballot systems as soon as possible. Additionally, electronic poll book use has increased significantly in recent elections. We found that nearly 80% of voters live in jurisdictions that used electronic poll books in Election Day polling places in November 2020. As with any type of electronic voting equipment, electronic poll books are susceptible to failures which create long lines in the polling place; they should be given the same federal oversight as other types of voting equipment.
Continue to give zero support to internet voting. Importantly, H.R. 1 avoids the trap of embracing unverifiable internet voting as a way to expand voting access. Multiple election security experts warn that internet voting poses a serious threat to our democracy by compromising both the secrecy and integrity of your ballot. If conducted online, U.S. elections would be easy targets for attackers – including foreign state actors – who seek to change election outcomes or sow distrust in our democracy. Any internet-connected voting system is vulnerable to attack and should not be used.
As we saw in the 2020 election, public confidence in our elections – and our democracy – is at a tipping point. Election security and verification must remain a priority for election officials and policymakers. Verified Voting is committed to supporting these efforts and looks forward to working with members of Congress to support safe, secure and fair federal elections.
Mark Lindeman & Cris Landa
About Verified Voting
Verified Voting’s mission is to strengthen democracy by promoting the responsible use of technology in elections. Since our founding in 2004 by Stanford computer science professor David Dill, we have acted on the belief that the integrity and strength of our democracy relies on citizens’ trust that each vote is counted as cast. We bring together policymakers and officials who are designing and implementing voting-related legislation and regulations with technology experts who comprehend the risks associated with election technology. We have provided direct assistance to election officials in implementing the most efficient post-election audits to verify election results.
Our board of directors and board of advisors include some of the top computer scientists, cyber security experts and statisticians working in the election administration arena as well as former and current elections officials. Verified Voting has no financial interest in the type of equipment used. Our goal is for every jurisdiction in the United States to have secure and verifiable elections.