A joint project from Verified Voting, the Brennan Center, Common Cause and the National Election Defense Coalition suggests ways states can use Congressional election security funds.

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A new toolkit designed for advocates and election officials offers suggestions for best practices for conducting post-election audits as well as tips for local jurisdictions considering purchasing new voting machines. The toolkit, “Securing the Nation’s Voting Machines,” is a joint project between Verified Voting, the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause and the National Election Defense Coalition.

“Cyber security experts agree that our voting systems need to be resilient and allow jurisdictions to monitor, detect, respond and recover from an event that interferes with the software. Resilient systems incorporate a paper ballot that is retained for recounts and post-election audits,” said Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting. “This toolkit provides a roadmap for election officials nationwide who are looking to implement these resilient systems.”

In March, Congress approved $380 million to “improve the administration of elections for Federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements.” Although the Help America Vote Act generally gives states flexibility on spending that money, Congress emphasized the importance of having a voter-verified paper record of every vote and recommended those paper records be used to conduct post-election audits. In fact, Congress specified in the report language that the funds were aimed at improving cybersecurity of elections.

The toolkit has sections on purchasing new machines as well as counting paper ballots and conducting post-election audits, and includes discussions on:

  • Which voting machines should be replaced immediately
  • The benefits of replacing paperless voting machines with machines that incorporate paper ballots that are retained for recounts and audits
  • Purchasing equipment and paying for that equipment
  • Why post-election audits are necessary
  • What are the elements of a good audit
  • How post-election audits are instituted