Election Security and Transparency in 2020

Earlier this month I gave a public lecture at the invitation of the Center for Information Technology Policy and the League of Women Voters. The League had asked, “What can we as voters do to protect our elections and our representative government?”

The video is available here. A longer video, that includes introductions, Q&A moderated by the LWV, and some remarks by the Union County (NJ) Administrator of Elections, is available here.

First, I talk about how the principles of security, transparency, the secret ballot, and trustworthiness were built into American election procedures more than 100 years ago; how computerized voting machines affect these principles; and how the best solution is optical-scan paper ballots, counted by computers but recountable by hand, and with risk-limiting audits.

Next, starting at 12:50 (or 15:36 in the longer video), I talk about Ballot-Marking Devices, and their particular insecurity compared to hand-marked optical-scan ballots.

Starting at 20:18 (or 35:46 in the longer video), I talk about voting during the pandemic, which particularly means Vote By Mail in many states. How do election officials make the processing of absentee ballots secure and transparent, so that we (the public) can trust that it’s secure? I explain how vote-by-mail works (especially in NJ), and how we, the public, should vote in the year 2020. And I’ll explain why in some states we should really vote in person.

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Author: Andrew Appel