That’s the verdict in a Center for American Progress report taking a hard look at the security of America’s election systems. We’ve been treated to a great many stories documenting the weakness of our systems — whether it is an inability to verify votes, or aggressive efforts to suppress voting or even the Russians looking for a way into our systems, and this report is pretty timely for all of us who think that we are entitled to a fair and operational election system.
The report looks at these factors –state requirements and practices related to:
- Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems
- Voter-verified paper ballots
- Post-election audits that test election results
- Ballot accounting and reconciliation
- Return of voted paper absentee ballots
- Voting machine certification requirements
- Pre-election logic and accuracy testing
Delaware scores an overall D for the state of our election systems. Delaware is one of the five states that does not provide a paper record of votes and does not mandate post-election audits. We have a good deal of detail in this plus on the status of Delaware’s voting machines from Stan Merriman here. This report recognizes that the state has an ongoing process to replace these machines and strongly recommends an upgrade to both security and accountability by going to a system that provides a voter-verified paper trail.
We also fail (according to this report) in providing robust mandatory post-election audits that confirm the accuracy of election outcomes; lack a robust ballot accounting and reconciliation process; and absentee ballots from UOCAVA voters and those with disabilities are allowed to be returned electronically, via email and fax.
In light of all of the reporting on the attempts to break into our systems, Delaware First Media talks to the DoE Commissioner, Mrs. Manlove and finds that she is confident of the security of the systems. Which is likely right — these machines are not connected to the internet in any way. But the current effort to procure new voting machines is a great opportunity to increase the physical security of the voting process, but to also increase the overall accountability of the process. It is hard to know where the DoE is leaning based upon the RFP I saw.
Still, ensuring that the voting process is secure, accountable and trustworthy is vital. We need the Elections folks to talk to us more about what we can expect.