Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting Designs New Ways to Think About Election Security

Summer is here and that means Verified Voting’s work is heating up! In the past few months Verified Voting has added staff, increased our state work, produced a valuable toolkit for election officials and advocates that received press in POLITICO and The Hill and created a set of infographics and maps which appeared in the Wall Street Journal and NPR (make sure to scroll down to see Verified Voting’s latest infographic: “Safeguarding Our Elections: The Solutions to Vulnerabilities in Election Security”).

The media continues to be instrumental in helping us raise awareness about safeguarding elections. Here are some recent highlights:

Fast Company – How U.S. Election Officials Are Trying To Head Off The Hackers
Bloomberg – Hack-Resistant Vote Machines Missing as States Gird for ’18 Vote
Reuters – Ahead of November election, old voting machines stir concerns among U.S. officials
Washington Post – How Colorado became the safest state to cast a vote
Associated Press – Election Hacking Puts Focus on Paperless Voting Machines
Axios – Exclusive poll: Majority expects foreign meddling in midterms
POLITICO – Election system experts debate merits of wireless tech in voting machines

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @VerifiedVoting or on Facebook to catch more news about Verified Voting. We hope that you’ll share our infographic with your own networks and help spread the word on how to safeguard our elections.

Marian K. Schneider President, Verified Voting


Rocco Spinelli Joins the Verified Voting Team!

Rocco Spinelli joined the Verified Voting team in May as our new Administrative Officer. In this capacity, he oversees Verified Voting’s daily operations and serves as the administrative liaison for all financial matters. Rocco comes to us from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the Director of Student Affairs, Administration and Finance at the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative. During his seven-year tenure at UPenn, Rocco expanded the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative’s corporate partnerships in addition to running its customer relationship management system and planning and coordinating events for Wharton’s stakeholders. While working full-time at the University, Rocco also earned a B.A. in Political Science. Rocco’s skills and experience are uniquely suited to our work and we are very fortunate to have him as part of our team. Welcome, Rocco!

Verified Voting is Going Visual!

In addition to recent collaborations with news outlets depicting voting technology across the states (more on that below), Verified Voting created its own infographic: “Safeguarding Our Elections: The Solutions to Vulnerabilities in Election Security,” which can be downloaded here.

In May we partnered with the Wall Street Journal on a powerful story and infographic showing the resurgence of paper ballots, “Remember the Age of Paper Ballots? It’s Back.” The article, which ran on May 30th in a special Cybersecurity Journal Report, includes a map developed with Verified Voting data that shows the number of states that will use paper ballots at polling places in elections this year.We also teamed with NPR to develop a set of infographics featuring voting technologies across the country for a story called “Will Your Vote Be Vulnerable On Election Day?” The story featured an interactive tool that allows readers to search for their counties to learn about voting technologies that will be in use during this year’s midterm elections.

The Election Officials and Advocates’ Guide to “Securing the Nation’s Voting Machines

This month, Verified Voting released a new toolkit for advocates and election officials, “Securing the Nation’s Voting Machines,” that offers suggestions for best practices for conducting post-election audits as well as tips for local jurisdictions considering purchasing new voting machines. The toolkit is a joint venture in association with the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause and the National Election Defense Coalition.

The toolkit includes sections on purchasing new machines, counting paper ballots and conducting post-election audits. It further covers discussions on aging voting machines, the benefits of paper ballots and how to conduct post-election audits, among others. The release of the toolkit was covered by The Hill and POLITICO, which quoted Marian K. Schneider: “This toolkit provides a roadmap for elections officials nationwide who are looking to implement these resilient systems.” You can download the full toolkit here.

Verified Voting in the States

Florida: The state is busy preparing for the midterms. In May, Verified Voting attended the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections (FSASE) Summer Conference in Ft. Lauderdale. There, Florida’s 67 county officials and members of their staffs were joined by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Maria Matthews, Director of the Division of Elections, several elections officials from other states and multiple federal officials including those from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A lot of time was devoted to DHS discussions of cybersecurity, particularly in the light of elections having gained “critical infrastructure” designation at the end of 2017.

While security for the midterms rightly took most of the attention, there was still time to talk paper ballots, better post-election audits, accessible voting equipment, and Florida officials’ increasing interest in moving toward vote centers and mail-in ballots. There is still so much work to do to secure paper ballots, effective audits, and long overdue parity for voters with disabilities into statute, rule and protocol.

The work is not just in designing voting systems that include all of those essential features – much of that work is done even if it continues to evolve and improve. The long, hard work now revolves around building consensus among key stakeholder groups and resisting the special interests of vendors, politics and massive bureaucratic inertia. We and our team of consultants and lobbyists are building the bonds and carefully refining priorities – the incremental changes that can be accomplished in the short, medium and long time frames.

Pennsylvania: The Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security – with support from Verified Voting – was established to bring about concrete improvements before the next presidential election in 2020. The commission is a collaboration between Verified Voting; the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security; and Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute CERT Division and will receive additional support from The Heinz Endowments. Marian K. Schneider will represent Verified Voting on the commission, which will convene experts and leaders from across the state with a clear goal: strengthening the security of the systems on which Pennsylvanians rely to exercise their right to vote. As a perennial swing state, secure elections in Pennsylvania are crucial to maintaining faith in the validity of our elections, which is why the commission brings together experts from the fields of justice, law and education to assess the state’s election security architecture. The announcement of the Blue Ribbon Commission last month received press coverage in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and was detailed in an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Virginia: The state is in the process of implementing a new post-election audit law. In May, Verified Voting met with Chris Piper, Commissioner of the Department of Elections, and James Heo, Policy Counsel, to discuss the rollout of the new post-election audit law and stress the importance of risk-limiting audits. Verified Voting was well-received and we are making connections with local registrars who are interested in piloting RLAs in their locality.

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