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 elections. Public trust in the election results is contingent upon the principle that governs a democracy: that each voter has a free and fair opportunity to cast a ballot privately and have each ballot counted as cast. Any action that interferes with these principles undermines the democratic institution of voting. With just over four months before the general election, our democracy is at great risk if steps are not immediately taken to protect it.
We urge Congress to pass funding that election officials desperately need to bolster staffing, equipment, and other infrastructure, and we urge election officials and government at all levels to act quickly to:
- Ramp up vote by mail securely by following the guidance outlined in our COVID-19 election security recommendations
- Supply ample emergency paper ballots and paper copies of voter registration lists at in person polling locations as a recovery plan for technology failures and managing high turnout in November
- Conduct post-election risk limiting audits of paper ballots to check that the ballots were counted accurately and bolster public confidence in the election outcomes
- Plan for mitigating technology and voting equipment malfunctions, whether malicious or accidental
Since its founding, Verified Voting has advocated for the responsible use of technology in elections. Technology is a crucial component of election infrastructure – the choice of technology and its deployment directly impacts how votes are cast and counted. The responsible use of election technology can bolster public confidence in election outcomes and help voters cast their votes safely and securely. The irresponsible use of election technology not only destroys confidence in elections but also disenfranchises voters.
Our elections continue to face threats of foreign interference disrupting the integrity of our election results. But as we’ve seen this primary season, another direct form of interference with election technology — through unfair allocations, inadequate training, or incomplete preparations — is happening right now and has been happening in each and every election cycle since our organization’s founding. Failure to fix voting technology, improve the voter experience, and secure our elections is a 21st century form of disenfranchisement that can and must be corrected. Our democracy is at stake until every single eligible voter can vote safely and securely in November’s election.