National: The key to future election security starts with a roll of the dice | Patrick Howell O’Neill/MIT Technology Review
We’re now six weeks past Election Day, and electors in every state followed the will of the voters and confirmed the victory of Joe Biden. But while the Electoral College made the results official, President Donald Trump is continuing to protest them, despite having lost dozens of court cases within the past month. In any case, Congress is slated to complete the process of electing Biden on January 6. President Trump’s attack on American elections accelerated a problem that already existed in the United States: the public doesn’t trust the vote. So how can we help more Americans believe in the most important function of our democracy? One of the states with the most contentious states votes in 2020 might have something to tell us. Georgia’s election was close. When it turned out that were only 12,000 votes separating Joe Biden from Donald Trump, the world turned its attention to the count there. The state’s election processes have changed significantly in just the last year, including a switch to more secure paper ballots and a law requiring a post-election audit, which was then used to examine this year’s tight presidential race. An audit is not a recount. Instead, it is a routine check of a portion of ballots, using statistical tests to root out anomalies. This is meant to increase everyone’s confidence that the outcome is correct. Georgia’s secretary of state, a Republican, ran the audit this year: it discovered and corrected a relatively small number of counting errors. That process was open and transparent, and the changes were too few to affect the results. In the end, it reaffirmed Joe Biden’s win in Georgia.