It is perhaps safe to say that the 2020 general election went much smoother than most people expected.
After challenging the arrival of the coronavirus early in the year, election officials in several states have expanded and liberalized the ways in which we can vote. In the end, it’s amazing 46% of our votes By mail.
At the same time, concerns that voting by mail would lead to chaos and voter fraud proved unjustified. Little evidence of voter fraud emerged, and legal appeals by President Trump and other Republicans went nowhere.
However, a number of the state’s Republican legislators are Already making plans To tighten voting restrictions, including the funneling of mailed ballots.
In the absence of much evidence of fraud, it appears their motivation may be a perception – the belief that although this cannot be proven this time, extended mail and an absentee vote could Worsen.
Whether we like it or not, there is no way to separate the issue from partisan politics. As Stanford University law professor Nate Pearly in A. The last conference on election cybersecurity, “There is an incredible polarization around mail-order voting at the moment that wasn’t present to the same extent before this election. Much of that is because Democrats now support it much more than Republicans. Because of the way it shook the post-election period, we are now in a position. In it the idea of a mail ballot elicits a deeply disturbing party response. “
what did we learn?
Although the votes were counted in time and fraud appeared to fail, there is a perception lingering – at least among many Republicans – that the current election systems cannot be trusted.
That’s why election and cybersecurity experts like Professor Perceli have been thinking about the 2020 elections and the lessons we can learn from them. They claim that accurate assessments can help reduce mistrust and lead to developments that would ensure safer elections.
C. Alex Halderman, an election security expert from the University of Michigan, looks like this Politico: “The big picture from 2020 is that ensuring an accurate result is not enough. An election must also be able to demonstrate to a skeptical public that the result was really accurate.”
In the Politico article, the experts make several “nuts and bolts” recommendations based on lessons learned from the 2020 elections, including:
- Replace paperless voting machines. Without a paper record of every vote, it is impossible to audit or recount the results, or rule out the possibility of a hardware failure. There has been a move away from paperless machines, including in Georgia and Pennsylvania, as paper records have made Republican challenges more difficult. However, nine states still use it, according to Politico.
- Enforce strict security standards. Federal security standards for voting machines and other systems are non-existent. It’s up to the states, and standards vary widely.
- Stop clicking to vote online. The internet is not safe. In May, three states announced plans to allow online voting for people with disabilities, but abandoned the plans after security experts dissuaded them.
Another point that can be emphasized publicly with more strength, according to the site Government technologyIs voting by mail inherently secure. “(O) One of the biggest cybersecurity investments that election officials have made this year has been one of the most analog solutions: expanding voting services by mail. For years, electoral security experts have lobbied for this to happen. Research has shown that it is one of the most common forms of election management. Safe. “
Another lesson, Government Technology said, is how important public education is in guiding people how to vote. MIT professor Charles Stewart: “There was an amazing degree of public education in this election. He started with the campaigns, he got down to the election officials, the traditional media, the social media, and they all work together to remind the voters of … the ballot request. Early and get it back early. “
Other security experts talk about how the elections indicated the value of using “risk-reduction audits” after the election. These audits use a statistical formula to determine the number of ballots that must be counted to verify the accuracy of the results. Several states use it now, including Georgia, which I used it for the first time In mid-November to check the number of winning votes for Joseph R. Biden.
Looking to the future
The nation is polarized in many ways, including how we think about elections and how they should be administered.
Some countries will take steps to restrict voting rights. Still, others may look at the evidence from the historic 2020 general election and decide that access to expanded polling is a good thing – as long as it is secure.