There’s good news: most Americans still have at least some confidence in our elections. But there’s also troubling news: Americans’ faith appears to be falling, and only four in ten now have “strong confidence” that their votes will be counted as cast. Among Republicans, the proportion has fallen to around a third. While Donald Trump has been working hard to propagate perceptions of voter fraud, there’s still scant evidence of such threats. A recent academic study found just 31 credible allegations of in-person voter fraud out of more than a one billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014. According to polling, more Americans are concerned about the susceptibility of our voting system to hacking than to other kinds of manipulation. Regardless of where you stand on questions of election integrity, we all need to reckon with a simple fact: Even just perceptions of rigging are corrosive to our democracy. We have a serious obligation to restore faith in our electoral system. The question is how to do so. … For now, there’s one option that’s both cheap and effective: returning to paper ballots.
It’s still the best practice among our allies in the industrialized world and the recommendation from an overwhelming majority of engineers and private sector cyber security personnel who work on the issue. For jurisdictions that have recently purchased electronic machines, it’s often possible to reconfigure them to at least produce paper records that allow for meaningful review. On the cybersecurity front, we need to create serious barriers between the internet and all the voter registration databases, vote-tabulating machines, and other election management tools. And we need to require serious post-election audits in randomly selected precincts before certifying final results.
In a sense, it’s unsurprising that Americans are losing faith in elections. We secure slot machines better than voting machines. Still, there’s good news here: We can repair election integrity relatively cheaply and easily. We just have to get back to the simplicity that defined US elections in the old days: verified paper ballots backed by robust audits, no more Wi-Fi-connected machines, and real protection for critical infrastructure like voter databases.
If our elected representatives are serious about rebuilding faith in our democracy, they should get serious about election security standards.
Full Article: How to restore faith in American elections | TheHill.