With Election Day just hours away, we are seeing reports across the country that electronic voting machines are already inaccurately recording votes and questions are being raised about potential foreign interference after 2016. While the responsibility to deal with these issues falls to state election officials, here is a quick guide for how to respond to some issues on Election Day, along with a handy resource from our friends at Verified Voting indicating what equipment is used in each polling place across the nation. 866-OUR-VOTE: If you experience voter machine glitches, see voters being turned away from the poll, or run into other issues, report them to the nonpartisan Election Protection network. This is the only way that we can spot patterns, put pressure on election officials to respond and, in the long run, make the case for paper ballots and risk limiting audits. Since the first electronic voting machines were introduced, security experts have warned that they pose a risk of interference or simple malfunction that cannot be easily detected or corrected. If someone hacks the machines, they hack the vote. If the machines fail, the vote is wrong. The fix is clear: all elections must include paper backups and a settled-on process for real risk limiting audits. If voting machines are down, you should ask for an emergency paper ballot. Do not simply accept that you cannot vote—broken machines should not result in disenfranchisement.
Call 866-OUR-VOTE and report the problem. Try to report as precisely as possible—which machine, what problem, what were you told by the election officials, etc. The Election Protection Coalition will then have the information they need to work with election officials, or, if necessary, go to court, to try to make sure precincts that experienced delays can keep polls open longer or that sufficient emergency ballots are available.
If you’re an election official in a state where some voting machines aren’t working, you should cooperate with efforts to keep the polls open late so everyone has a chance to vote. If machines are not working properly, allow voters to use emergency ballots. If machines are not readily rebooted or recalibrated, call for delivery of sufficient emergency ballots. Do not attempt major repairs on Election Day or ask voters to wait more than a few minutes before offering them emergency ballots. Keep any emergency ballots in a secure location.
Keep in mind that emergency ballots must be handled differently than provisional ballots and are always counted. Use of emergency ballots helps ensure that voters are not disenfranchised due to equipment problems.