The secretaries of state of Michigan and Alabama joined election security experts to warn members of Congress that much more must be done to secure American elections by 2020. They appeared before the Congressional House committee that oversees federal elections on May 8 to discuss how to combat foreign interference; aging and insecure voting machines, particularly paperless machines; and the need for post-election audits.
House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) vowed to make election security before the 2020 election a primary focus of the committee. “The risks posed by the vulnerabilities previously exploited still remain,” she said. “No matter your side of the aisle, the oath of upholding democracy as citizens and elected leaders in this nation is fundamental.” Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) warned that election security cannot be a partisan exercise.
There is broad consensus among experts that paperless electronic machines are not secure and should be removed from service as soon as possible.
Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, noted that while significant progress has been made since 2016, 11 states still use paperless electronic machines as the primary polling place equipment in at least some counties and towns and three states -- Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina -- continue to use such systems statewide.
When the Brennan Center surveyed election officials, two-thirds of local officials in 31 states said that they do not have adequate funds to replace equipment by the 2020 election, as mandated, even after the distribution of additional HAVA funds from Congress.
Norden was not joking when he stated in his written testimony that there are more federal regulations for ballpoint pens than there are for voting systems.
Marian Schneider, president of the Verified Voting and former Deputy Secretary for Elections and Administration in the Pennsylvania Department of State, also emphasized the need to replace aging and vulnerable machines with systems that use voter-marked paper ballots, creating a verifiable record.