Tags: 2020 Elections | Voting Rights | mail voting | foreign interference | security

Safety, Security Top Concerns Ahead of General Election

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By    |   Friday, 24 July 2020 09:58 AM

Ensuring the general election is both safe and secure is consuming election officials who have about 100 days to prepare.

NPR reports that election officials are trying to set up two different types of voting options while facing the coronavirus pandemic and threats to security that could result in a fraudulent election. 

Most states are expecting a larger portion of voters to use mail-in ballots so they don’t have to wait in lines and risk catching coronavirus. But at the same time, they are also preparing to keep polls open for people who don’t trust the vote-by-mail system. According to NPR, some local officials say they don’t have the resources to deploy two voting methods effectively.

Primaries in several states have already shown that there were delays at polling sites, issues with mail-in ballots not coming in on time and other snafus.

"There are two crises facing our elections right now," Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold told NPR.

In addition to keeping people who cast their polls in person safe, she said the possibility of a foreign attack on U.S. elections is "not front of mind for a lot of states anymore, and that is troubling."

The topic of foreign interference in the general election was a topic at an online meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

Matt Masterson, an adviser with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told state officials that security gaps still exist when it comes to elections.

He said recent DHS testing on local election systems indicated there were a number of “concerning” vulnerabilities.

Politico reports there are actually eight factors that could cause the election to be a disaster.

In addition to the coronavirus and threat of foreign election interference, Politico points out there is a lack of funding, new technology that could go wrong and tons of voters who are physically not in their voting districts. On top of issues that could happen at the polls, Politico suggests the fallout that could happen if there are lawsuits challenging the results or if President Donald Trump refuses to concede should the votes not go his way. 

"My biggest concern for the fall election is an election administrator’s job is to convince the losers that they lost,” Washington’s Republican secretary of state, Kim Wyman, told Politico earlier this year. “I guarantee you that half of the country cannot conceive that Republicans can win in November. The other half of the country cannot conceive that Democrats can win.”

The lack of resources, specifically funding, was brought up during a Senate hearing hosted by the Rules Committee.

House Democrats have pushed to allocate $3.6 billion to help local election offices, but there has been pushback from Republicans.

But the committee's chair, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., recognized that states will need more money to conduct elections as they face multiple challenges.

"That's something that everyone here can agree on: Voters in this country must be able to cast a ballot safely and securely and without putting their health at risk," he said.

Voting rights advocates warn that without the money, election offices will struggle.

"This November we're likely to see historic levels of turnout and participation," Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a voter advocacy group, told NPR. "If we don't provide the $3.6 billion that states need to institute proper reforms, I fear that we're bracing for a disaster."

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Ensuring the general election is both safe and secure is consuming election officials who have about 100 days to prepare. NPR reports that election officials are trying to set up two different types of voting options while facing the coronavirus pandemic and threats to security...
mail voting, foreign interference, security
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2020-58-24
Friday, 24 July 2020 09:58 AM
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