January 3, 2018

HAVE THEY BEEN READING GLENN REYNOLDS? New bill could finally get rid of paperless voting machines.

Computer scientists have been warning for more than a decade that these machines are vulnerable to hacking and can’t be meaningfully audited. States have begun moving away from paperless systems, but budget constraints have forced some to continue relying on insecure paperless equipment. The Secure Elections Act would give states grants specifically earmarked for replacing these systems with more secure systems that use voter-verified paper ballots.

The legislation’s second big idea is to encourage states to perform routine post-election audits based on modern statistical techniques. Many states today only conduct recounts in the event of very close election outcomes. And these recounts involve counting a fixed percentage of ballots. That often leads to either counting way too many ballots (wasting taxpayer money) or too few (failing to fully verify the election outcome).

The Lankford bill would encourage states to adopt more statistically sophisticated procedures to count as many ballots as needed to verify an election result was correct—and no more.

We talked to two election security experts who praised the legislation and urged Congress to pass it quickly.

All is proceeding exactly as Glenn has foreseen.

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