Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday called on election officials in all 50 states to ensure that ballots used during the 2020 presidential election are able to be audited. Nielsen told a group of reporters touring the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, Va., that she wants “all state and local election officials to make certain that by the 2020 presidential election, every American votes on a verifiable and auditable ballot.” “Our systems must be resilient. We must be able to demonstrate that the votes count and that they are counted correctly,” she added.
Nielsen listed three ways states could audit their ballots: By using paper ballots, machines that print out an individual’s vote so it can be verified that the machine correctly tabulated their choice, or using machines that send a duplication transmission when someone votes.
The DHS chief indicated that she will not direct states on what method to use, but said states should maintain a system of verifiable ballots in order to ensure trust in the election system. “I don’t know if we are interested in mandating how, I am just interesting in making sure each state can explain to their citizens what they have done to verify the vote count,” she said.
The DHS chief emphasized that the Trump administration is “working with election officials in all 50 states,” having “frequent and frank” dialogue with election officials and pushing to identify and help manage risks.