Media Release

Media Release: Senate Intelligence Committee’s Recommendations Outline Urgent Need for Paper Ballots, Post-Election Audits

Marian K. Schneider: The recommendations…make the case that states need immediate federal support to build a stronger defense.”

(March 21 2018) — The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report today about Russian targeting of election infrastructure during the 2016 election. Read the full set of recommendations here. The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting:

“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report recognizes that voter-verified paper ballots and post-election audits are the best way – given current technology – to ensure that an attack on our voting systems can be detected and the outcome verified.

“As the Intelligence Committee hearing established again this morning, there was foreign interference during the 2016 election and a real possibility that similar acts to undermine faith in our democratic system will occur again. Security experts agree that safeguarding and protecting our election systems is important, and the Intelligence Committee report is another indication that Congress and state governments must urgently address the vulnerabilities in our election systems, both by mandating voter-verified paper records and audits as well as allocating resources to accomplish these goals.

“Some states are already taking steps to safeguard their voting systems. Virginia made the move to decertify all of its voting machines last year, acknowledging that its voting machines were computerized and like all computers they are vulnerable, while Colorado became the first state to implement risk-limiting audits (RLAs) statewide. Other states are following suit, but states need resources to replace aging, insecure voting equipment and implement robust post-election audits.

“The Intelligence Committee’s report correctly identified that by making federal funds available to states that need them, states will be able to help defray the costs of audits and improve cybersecurity. But legislation like the Secure Elections Act would also help states replace aging systems and move toward a truly secure paper-based voting system. In order to adopt the Intelligence Committee’s recommendations, Congress must immediately pass this legislation and support states’ efforts to safeguard elections.

“It’s time we prepare to monitor, detect, respond and recover from any potential attacks that undermine the democracy of our elections. The recommendations laid out by the Intelligence Committee make the case that states need immediate federal support to build a stronger defense by using paper ballots or having a voter-verified paper trail and implementing widespread, statistically sound audits like RLAs.”

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Verified Voting is a national non-partisan, non-profit educational and advocacy organization committed to safeguarding elections in the digital age. Founded by computer scientists, Verified Voting advocates for the responsible use of emerging technologies to ensure that Americans can be confident their votes will be cast as intended and counted as cast. We promote auditable, accessible and resilient voting for all eligible citizens.

MEDIA CONTACT: Aurora Matthews
301-221-7984

Media Release: Verified Voting Opposes Georgia’s Current Voting Machine Legislation

Marian K. Schneider:[T]he current bill will perpetuate the cycle of unverifiable voting in Georgia. Verified Voting cannot support the bill unless significant changes are made.”

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, about why Georgia’s current Senate Bill 403 cannot ensure a verifiable and accurate election system. For additional media inquires, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com

“Georgia voters need a secure voting system with voter-marked paper ballots and audits, but instead, Georgia’s electoral system is left insecure and unverifiable. The current version of Senate Bill 403, which recently passed the House Government Affairs Committee, has morphed into a sweetheart deal for a group of voting machine vendors. Georgia voters are simply demanding a verifiable secure election system …nothing more..

“If the intent of the Georgia legislature was to replace its current vulnerable and unverifiable voting systems with a verifiable paper-based system, SB 403 falls so far short of this goal that Verified Voting is compelled to oppose it based on its current language. The legislation does not provide voters with a secure and verifiable voting system based on paper ballots and meaningful audits; it instead sets a framework for needlessly expensive, electronic and insecure voting machines that could be subject to manipulation.

“The citizens of Georgia should demand voting machines which provide them with a voter-marked paper ballot, marked by hand or with an accessible ballot marking device, preservation of the voter marked paper ballot for recounts and audits, and a requirement that, for any audit or recount, the human readable marks and text on the ballots be inspected manually to validate that software used to count the votes operated correctly. Only if all of these components are included can Georgia seriously instill confidence in its elections.

“Unfortunately, the current bill will perpetuate the cycle of unverifiable voting in Georgia. Verified Voting cannot support the bill unless significant changes are made to protect our democracy, even if it is at the expense of voting machine vendors.”

Media Release: Pennsylvania Special Election Underscores Urgent Need for Voter-Verifiable Paper Systems to Check Computer-Generated Votes

Marian K. Schneider: “All races should be audited whether they are close or not.”

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, formerly Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration in the Pennsylvania Department of State, about Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. For additional media inquires, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com

“Pennsylvania law does not mandate a recount in this race, although candidates can petition for a recount, a difficult and expensive process. In Pennsylvania, 83 percent of voters, including all the voters in the 18th Congressional District, cast their votes on electronic voting machines that record the choices directly onto computer memory. Because no paper record of the voters’ choices exist, there is no way to double check if those machines correctly captured voter intent. All races should be audited – whether they are close or not – but elections like this underscore the need to have processes in place to instill confidence in the results. While there is no indication that there is any need to question the results of yesterday’s election, a ‘recount’ of a paperless voting machine will not catch software bugs, election programming errors or vote rigging malware in the voting machines.

“Pennsylvania announced earlier this year that it would no longer purchase unverifiable direct recording electronic (DRE) systems, but the special election yesterday demonstrates exactly why there is an urgent need for physical paper ballots that can be used to check the computer-generated votes. Verified Voting advocates for a quality assurance process that uses statistical methods and random sampling to verify the accuracy of the results.”

Media Release: Verified Voting Says Paper Ballots and Post-Election Audits Can Safeguard our Elections as State and Local Election Officials Discuss Election Security

Marian K. Schneider: “Passing the bipartisan Security Elections Act will advance our nation’s efforts to protect and ensure trustworthy elections.”

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, regarding the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) summit held today in Washington, D.C. For additional media inquires, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com  

“As officials look to address the risks our elections face today, it is essential that voter-verified paper ballots and post-election audits are recognized as the best way – given current technology – to ensure that an attack on our voting systems can be detected and the outcome verified. With midterm elections quickly approaching, it’s time we also prepare to monitor, detect, respond and recover from these potential attacks. The good news is that we can, and Congress has a bill that goes a long way in doing so.

“The bipartisan Secure Elections Act, introduced late last month by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Martin Heinrich, (D-NM), aims to provide states with the resources needed to implement these safeguards.  Read More

Media Release: Verified Voting Urges Congress to Pass the Secure Elections Act; Bipartisan Legislation Empowers States to Protect Themselves

Marian K. Schneider: “Passing the bipartisan Secure Elections Act will advance our nation’s efforts to protect and ensure trustworthy elections.”

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, on the Secure Elections Act, which was introduced by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC),Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Martin Heinrich,(D-NM) on December 21, 2017.

“The Secure Elections Act addresses the new reality that our election infrastructure must be protected as matter of national security. At a time when our democracy needs increased protection, Congress should fast-track the newly introduced Secure Elections Act to provide resources for states to safeguard our voting systems and ensure election infrastructure is resilient.

“This bipartisan legislation establishes a structured grant program that creates incentives for states to adopt good cyber hygiene measures in accordance with guidelines developed by an advisory panel of experts. Coupling grants to the states with effective guidelines on spending will ensure the money is used well and moves toward strengthening our elections. In addition, the bill improves the exchange of information about security threats among the different levels of government to allow timely response and action. Read More

Media Release: Election Security Experts Raise Concern about the Integrity of Alabama’s U.S. Senate Election if a Recount is Needed

MEDIA CONTACT: Aurora Matthews 301-221-7984
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Marian K. Schneider: “Alabama’s recount laws won’t do enough to protect voters’ votes.”

The following is a statement from Marian K. Schneider, president of Verified Voting, on election integrity, and the need for manual recounts and audits. For additional media inquires, please contact aurora@newheightscommunications.com  

“All eyes might be on the candidates running for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, but Alabama’s election practices and recount laws also deserve scrutiny. If the race goes to a recount following the election, Alabama’s recount laws won’t do enough to protect voters’ votes because it has no audit structure in place and relies on re-tabulation – where ballots that were tabulated by optical scanners are now re-tabulated by machine. If a recount occurs, it cannot be relied on to detect and correct a potential error in the computerized count unless it is done manually. Read More

Media Release: Voting Experts Call for Nationwide Audit to Verify Election Results

Nationwide Audit of 1% of Votes Cast Could Give 95% Confidence in Election Results

In year plagued by hacks, breaches and claims of “rigged” elections, national audit offers simple way to restore confidence in electoral process

Days after an unexpected outcome in the presidential election, a leading voting security group is reinforcing its call for a national post-election manual audit to validate computer-generated election results. In the months leading up to the election federal authorities issued unprecedented warnings regarding the computer security of the U.S. election system following revelations that over 20 states’ voter registration systems and a Florida voting system vendor were targeted by foreign cyber attacks. Federal officials acknowledged that the system vendor and four states’ voter registration databases were compromised by hackers including Illinois and Arizona. 

“This national election was held under an unfortunate cloud of uncertainty due to documented attacks on U.S. election systems and claims of rigging before votes were even cast,” said Verified Voting President Pamela Smith. “In order for democracy to work, we all need to believe in the system that elects our leaders. Voters must have assurance their ballots will be counted the way they intended to cast them—especially in a time when so much doubt has been cast on the electoral process. Luckily, there’s an easy way to do this: a post-election audit that manually examines a random sample of the ballots.”

Almost all ballots cast in the U.S. are tabulated by computers; software is vulnerable to errors, bugs, malware and attacks. The security breaches identified in the months before the election led national security experts in both the federal government and private sector to issue unprecedented warnings about the cyber security of U.S. voting systems. In an extraordinary move, the Department of Homeland Security partnered with state and federal election officials in an effort to shore up voting system security following the disclosed attacks. 

A nationwide audit of about 1.4 million ballots–just over 1% of the votes cast– could give 95% confidence that each state’s result is right. About 25% of Americans voted on equipment that does not produce an auditable paper record, mostly in Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, and New Jersey. But votes cast by the other 75% are on paper ballots or paper records voters have the chance to check, and those can and should be checked in every election.  Read More

Media Release: Verified Voting announces appointment of John DeCock as new Executive Director

Verified Voting, the nation’s leading election integrity organization, today announced the appointment of John DeCock as our new Executive Director.

“We are delighted to have John join our team,” said Verified Voting President Pamela Smith. “John’s appointment signals an important step in our efforts to safeguard elections and to support each voter’s right to cast an effective ballot. John’s exceptional skills and experience will support our outreach and ability to share our resources with a broad range of communities, from voters to policymakers to election officials and more. Working together with John, I am certain that we will continue making vital contributions towards achieving reliable and publicly verifiable elections.”

“There is nothing more fundamental to our Democracy than the right to vote and the knowledge that each vote matters and will be properly counted,” said DeCock. “I am looking forward to working with the talented staff and board at Verified Voting, as well as with the many experts who have collectively achieved so much. There still is much to do to improve the systems by which we cast our votes and to guarantee that every voter knows that his or her vote is counted as cast.” Read More

Media Release: Verified Voting Welcomes Andrew Appel to the Advisory Board

Verified Voting is pleased to welcome Andrew W. Appel, PhD. to our Advisory Board. Dr. Appel is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. He served as Department Chair from 2009-2015. His research is in software verification, computer security, programming languages and compilers, and technology policy. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in physics from Princeton in 1981, and his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985.

Dr. Appel has been Editor in Chief of ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems and is a Fellow of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). He has worked on fast N-body algorithms (1980s), Standard ML of New Jersey (1990s), Foundational Proof-Carrying Code (2000s), and the Verified Software Toolchain (2010s).  Read More