National: Moving to Evidence-Based Elections | Barbara Simons and Poorvi Vora/National Academies
In most jurisdictions things went relatively smoothly in the November 2022 midterms, but serious issues, both technical and political, remain. As we discuss below, elections may be made more transparent and secure through the use of voter-marked paper ballots and rigorous postelection audits. The midterm elections were not as contentious as many had feared, but harassment of election officials and poll workers of both political parties has persisted. For example, on election night Bill Gates, the Republican chair of the Maricopa County (AZ) governing board, had to go into hiding because of threats. In Cobb County, GA, a suspect was arrested for interfering with poll workers and slapping a voter. Police were called in Cascade County, MT, because protesters were circling outside waiting for election officials. And an Arizona judge ordered masked and armed “observers” to keep some distance from ballot drop boxes. Safety fears have triggered election official resignations and made recruitment of poll workers more difficult. In addition, unanticipated technical problems occurred and are likely to continue to occur in every large election. Fast and accurate information is needed to explain both the problems and, where feasible, the workarounds. For example, in Maricopa County, some polling place printers produced blank ballots (for voters to mark by hand) that were too faint for the polling place scanners to read (they were readable by central scanners). Although the printing problem generated conspiracy theories among some, election officials and the press quickly informed voters that they could deposit their completed ballots in ballot boxes for later tabulation. Or they could vote at a different location if they first surrendered their marked ballot.
Full Article: Moving to Evidence-Based Elections | National Academies