Verified Voting Blog: COVID-19 and the Surge of Mail Ballots: Managing an Unprecedented Volume in the November 2020 Election

Download Report Jurisdictions across the country have seen a significant increase in mail voting during their 2020 primary elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several jurisdictions have required additional time to tabulate results — an indication that they will likely need more time and resources for the November general election. Verified Voting completed an analysis to…

Verified Voting Blog: COVID-19 and the Surge of Mail Ballots: Managing an Unprecedented Volume in the November 2020 Election

Download Report Jurisdictions across the country have seen a significant increase in mail voting during their 2020 primary elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several jurisdictions have required additional time to tabulate results — an indication that they will likely need more time and resources for the November general election. Verified Voting completed an analysis to…

Verified Voting Blog: June Primaries Set the Stage for November; Verified Voting Outlines Recommendations to Ensure Integrity and Verifiability of Elections

The following is a statement from Verified Voting on the primaries conducted on June 2 and June 9. For additional media inquiries, please contact Aurora Matthews, aurora@newheightscommunications.com. June 17, 2020 – The first set of primaries postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the acute challenges associated with ensuring the accuracy, integrity and verifiability of…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Statement for the Record House Admin Election Hearing

The following is a letter sent by Verified Voting to the House Administration Committee Subcommittee on Elections ahead of the hearing, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Voting Rights and Election Administration: Ensuring Safe and Fair Elections” on June 11, 2020. Download the letter here June 10, 2020 The Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, Chairperson House Administration…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Decries Efforts to Ramp Up Internet Voting; New Report from MIT and Univ. of Michigan Confirms Risks

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting about the new report from MIT and the University of Michigan, “Security Analysis of the Democracy Live Online Voting System”. For additional media inquiries, please contact Aurora Matthews, aurora@newheightscommunications.com    June 8, 2020 – “Computer scientists agree that electronic transmission of voted…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting & California Voter Foundation’s Letter of Concern regarding California’s November election

The California Voter Foundation and Verified Voting are writing to express technological and security concerns about your bill, AB 860, which requires all counties to mail every registered voter a vote-bymail ballot for the November 3 Presidential Election. We appreciate all the hard work and negotiations that have gone into crafting both AB 860 and its companion bill, SB 423 and hope these comments help strengthen your proposal as well as planning for November.

Provisional voting and VoteCal

While we support the plan to mail every registered voter a ballot during this uncertain time, doing so may also result in widespread use of provisional voting in order to keep voters who received a mailed ballot from being able to cast an additional ballot.

Counties could minimize the need for provisional ballots if they have access to real-time connectivity from voting sites to VoteCal, California’s statewide voter registration database, and can verify the voter’s mailed ballot has not already been received and also cancel that ballot to prevent double-voting.

During the March Primary, VoteCal was inaccessible for periods during the morning and evening to several counties on Election Day, dramatically slowing down the voting process during those times. Los Angeles County’s technical issues, including problems syncing county voter data with VoteCal, contributed to long lines and hours-long wait times in some locations. If all counties will be depending on VoteCal for November to verify whether ballots have already been cast, it is imperative that this database be load- and stress-tested well in advance to ensure it can handle the amount of traffic that may occur when potentially thousands of voting sites across the state attempt to access the database in real time.

Verified Voting Blog: Election Security and an Accessible Vote By Mail Option

Guidance by Common Cause and Verified Voting published today outlines that remote accessible vote by mail options that keep voters choices private and secure already exist and should be made available to voters with disabilities as states increase access to vote by mail. Download PDF

During the COVID 19 pandemic, policymakers and elections officials are working to make voting safe, secure and accessible. As many jurisdictions expand vote by mail options, members of the disability community have pointed out that traditional vote by mail programs are not accessible to all voters. Some have urged that Congress adopt options for online voting to accommodate people with disabilities.

It is paramount that jurisdictions accommodate all voters with a secure and safe voting option during the pandemic, including voters with disabilities. Online voting is not secure. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the Department of Homeland Security all agree that no practically proven method exists to securely, verifiably, or privately return voted materials over the internet. In a recently released document entitled Risk Management for Electronic Ballot Delivery, Marking and Return, all four agencies stated, “Electronic ballot return faces significant security risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of voted ballots. These risks can ultimately affect the tabulation and results and can occur at scale.” In other words, the security risk is high. Despite what vendors may say, voting by email or via web portals jeopardizes the integrity of the election results; votes can be manipulated or deleted without the voter’s knowledge and the voter’s selections could be traced back to the individual voter.

Verified Voting Blog: Letter to New Jersey Governor regarding the use of internet voting options

Download the following letter sent on behalf of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Common Cause, and Verified Voting, to express our concern about the use of internet voting options in New Jersey elections.

Dear Governor Murphy, Attorney General Grewal, Secretary Way, and Director Giles:

We write concerning the use of internet voting options in recent local elections, as well as statements from state officials that this limited implementation will serve as a pilot for potential expanded use in future elections.[1] We agree with the legal conclusions expressed in Professor Penny Venetis’s May 7th letter,[2] that the use of internet voting would violate the statewide court order issued in Gusciora v. Corzine,[3] and we are aware of new litigation brought by Mercer County Assemblyman Reed Gusciora and New Jersey citizen groups arguing the same. As Judge Feinberg recognized in Gusciora, “as long as computers, dedicated to handling election matters, are connected to the Internet, the safety and security of our voting systems are in jeopardy.” While we recognize the challenges that the pandemic poses for our democracy and the need to expand voting options to ensure free and safe elections, these expansions should not be done in a way that jeopardizes election security. And the overwhelming consensus among security experts is that no method of internet voting can be conducted in a secure manner at this time. For this reason, we strongly urge you to refrain from any further use of internet or mobile voting systems in 2020.

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting supports election funding, security measures in proposed HEROES Act

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting in response to the House Democrats’ proposed coronavirus response package, the HEROES Act HR 6800. For additional media inquiries, please contact Aurora Matthews, aurora@newheightscommunications.com Download PDF May 13, 2020 — “COVID-19 created a new landscape for conducting elections and election officials need…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting praises federal guidance issued opposing internet voting

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting in response to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s guidance to states warning about security concerns with any voting system that…

Verified Voting Blog: Groups continue to urge Puerto Rico Governor Vázquez Garced to veto internet voting bill

Today, key members from Verified Voting, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Brennan Center for Justice, and Protect Democracy met virtually with the Puerto Rico Governor’s office to urge Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced to veto P.S. 1314 before it becomes law on May 16. If passed,…

Verified Voting Blog: Letter to Florida Governor – Provisional Support for Florida Supervisors of Election’s (FSE’s) COVID-19-Related Requests for Executive Orders

  Download the letter here   14 April 2020 Hon. Ron DeSantis Governor, State of Florida The Capitol 400 S. Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001   Dear Governor DeSantis, RE:  Provisional Support for FSE 7 April 2020 COVID-19-Related Requests for Executive Orders Verified Voting writes to lend our provisional support to the Florida Supervisors of…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting releases COVID-19 election security recommendations

Download Verified Voting’s guidance here

The COVID-19 epidemic has impacted many aspects of American democracy. Primaries have been rescheduled, processes for absentee ballots changed, and polling sites relocated, often with less than 24 hours’ notice. Throughout it all, election officials have been and will continue to be essential workers on the front line of protecting our democracy amidst this pandemic. People have risked their lives to ensure that others can cast their ballots. Given Verified Voting’s mission, these recommendations center on election security and verification, but they can only be implemented if election officials are safe and supported. 

COVID-19 and Trustworthy Elections

Election security and verification must remain a priority as election officials and policymakers around the country respond to the COVID-19 epidemic. Even with changes in procedures, the measure of a successful election is public confidence that the election was conducted fairly. Hostile nation-states and others will strive to raise doubts: Were some voters denied a chance to vote? Were some votes cast illegally? Were some votes cast inaccurately? Were some ballots added, removed, or altered? Were the ballots miscounted? How do we know? 

Providing reassuring answers after the election requires careful planning before the election by many stakeholders. Election officials will need time, resources, technical assistance, and support to do the work needed to secure the election.

Verified Voting Blog: Recommendations for Election Officials and Voters ahead of March 17 Primaries

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting in response to concerns around the March 17 primaries and the COVID-19 pandemic. For additional media inquiries, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – (March 16, 2020) “We understand the growing concerns about keeping voters safe at the polls amid the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), which is…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Data Shows Super Tuesday Voting Systems and Polling Equipment Trends Across States

This Super Tuesday, voters in the 14 states holding primaries will encounter a range of voting methods and polling equipment. Verified Voting maintains a comprehensive database of voting systems being used across the United States (see the Verifier) and is observing a number of trends across Super Tuesday states, including:

  • California – Los Angeles County is rolling out Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP), their in-house designed and publicly-owned ballot marking device (BMD) for all voters
  • North Carolina – More than half of North Carolinians are voting with new equipment, and seven counties are using BMDs for all voters. Verified Voting opposes the use of commercially-available BMDs for all voters because research suggests few voters actually check the paper outputs with enough attention to catch errors
  • Tennessee – 70% of registered voters will vote on unverifiable direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines; a few counties are using hand-marked paper ballots or BMDs
  • Texas – 36% of registered voters are voting on unverifiable DREs, and about half of all Texans will be using new voting equipment

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Calls on Florida to Rely on Paper Ballots for Election Recounts – Not Ballot Images

Verified Voting urges the Florida legislature to amend HB 1005 and SB 1312 to require a public manual comparison audit to check that electronic election result tabulations agree with the voter-verified paper ballots to a reasonable scientific standard. Election security researchers agree that all electronic vote tabulations should routinely be manually checked against paper ballots.

A retabulation system can facilitate this verification: election officials can examine a relatively small random sample of the voted paper ballots to ensure that the system counted each ballot accurately. Given heightened public concern about security threats, it is important now more than ever to demonstrate – not just assert – that computerized systems performed correctly.

“For Florida recounts to give Floridians the faith in election results that they deserve, recount procedures must demonstrate, to a reasonable scientific standard, that the computers counted the paper ballots accurately,” said Dan McCrea, Florida Director of Verified Voting. “As members of the Florida legislature recognized in a public hearing – that paper is the best evidence – we urge the legislature to amend the bill to routinely check this evidence.”

Verified Voting Blog: Highlights from Verified Voting’s Quarterly Field Report

Highlights from Verified Voting’s Quarterly Field Report Check out our state highlights from February 2020’s Verified Voting Quarterly Field Report. For the full report (including recent publications, events, and press highlights), click here.  California We are continuing to advise the state on proposed risk-limiting audit regulations and Director of Science and Technology Policy Mark Lindeman…

Verified Voting Blog: What We Don’t Know About the Voatz “Blockchain” Internet Voting System

The breakdown of the Iowa caucus’s mobile reporting app on February 3 highlights the risks of implementing new voting technologies that rely on the internet. Verified Voting advocates for the responsible use of technology in elections, and as President Marian K. Schneider noted, “The good news is that {Iowa) didn’t use (a mobile app) for…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Says Situation with Iowa Caucuses Reveals Risks Associated with Technology

View the statement here: Verified Voting Statement on Iowa Caucuses The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting following the delay of the results from the Iowa caucuses. For additional media inquiries, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com. “The situation with Iowa’s caucus reveals the risks associated with technology, in this case with a mobile app, but…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Says Situation with Iowa Caucuses Reveals Risks Associated with Technology

View the statement here: Verified Voting Statement on Iowa Caucuses The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting following the delay of the results from the Iowa caucuses. For additional media inquiries, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com. “The situation with Iowa’s caucus reveals the risks associated with technology, in this case with a mobile app, but…

Verified Voting Blog: New Verifier Map and Data

We’ve made some changes to the Verifier Map and Data. The maps now display voting equipment usage in election day polling places only and makes a distinction between jurisdictions in which most voters are hand marking paper ballots with Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) provided primarily for accessibility and those in which BMDs are used by all voters to mark ballots. The national map now displays voting system types by county rather than by state, which provides a more accurate representation of voting equipment usage. Since we started the Verifier database in 2006 we have always tracked voting equipment in terms of tabulation, distinguishing equipment in terms of paper ballot voting systems, Direct Recording Electronic voting systems, and a mix of the two systems in the same polling place. Ballot marking devices served primarily as assistive devices in jurisdictions that used a paper ballot voting system. With the advent of BMDs intended for use by all voters in 2016 and the significant increase in this voting method, we recognized the need for a different classification, and this is reflected in the new map and database.

Post Election Audits: What Is A Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA)?

Download Risk Limiting Audit 2-pager (pdf) Today Verified Voting released a guide describing risk-limiting audits, how they are different from other types of audits, and how a risk-limiting audit is conducted. The chart also outlines the elements needed for an RLA to meaningfully support confidence in reported election outcomes. For more information on the types…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Comment on Los Angeles County VSAP 2.0 Certification

The following is a comment on the certification process for Los Angeles County’s VSAP 2.0 system. To view a pdf, click here. Los Angeles County Voting Systems for All People (VSAP) 2.0 Certification Comment of Pamela Smith, Senior Advisor, Verified Voting January 20, 2020 Verified Voting commends Los Angeles County for the decade-long process of…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Comments on proposed amendments to Georgia State Election Board rules

Download as PDF Verified Voting welcomes the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments to Georgia’s State Election Board rules published on December 19, 2019. These amendments are wide-ranging, and we recognize that substantial work has gone into drafting them. Our comments focus on certain aspects especially relevant to cybersecurity and election verification. We substantially…

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Statement on Ballot Marking Devices and Risk-limiting Audits

Download the pdf here This statement is intended to clarify Verified Voting’s position regarding the use of ballot-marking devices (BMDs) in elections, and the use of risk-limiting audits (RLAs).  It is approved by the President, Board of Directors, and Staff of Verified Voting. Ballot-marking devices Verified Voting believes that voters should vote on paper ballots,…

Verified Voting Blog: Letter to Georgia Secretary of State regarding Verified Voting’s position and involvement with risk-limiting audit pilots

The following letter was sent to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on December 16, 2019. The letter addresses Verified Voting’s concerns following the November 2019 election in Georgia and provides clarity on Verified Voting’s position and involvement with risk-limiting audit pilots in the state. Download the Letter (PDF) Dear Secretary Raffensperger, I am writing…