Last week I completed a 7-part “Plain Talk” series on election security on our TrustTheVote Project site’s blog. I encourage you to have a look—we’ll be producing more content there specifically about elections and voting technology (while we use our corporate blog here for a broader range of topics related to election administration and defense of democracy). The purpose was simple: We receive a number of media inquiries and we’re investing well-spent time helping Congress gain a clearer sense of some important basic ideas and principles, so this series seemed like a good idea and was also motivated in part by something I explain in this post.
First, I want to offer a “thanks” to readers' patience with my attempts at keeping cybersecurity-speak in plain language in that series.
The motivation, in part, for the series is the careful listening to any and all Congressional proceedings (and any State legislature proceedings we can follow) on election security matters. So, let me also offer a “thanks” to all legislators who are working on election security, especially at the Federal-level, and in this case, everyone on the House Administration Committee who spoke at the Markup Session for HR 2722 on June 21st.
I must admit that in watching that session, I heard so many misstatements and misunderstandings by one member of the Committee in particular, that I had to crank out a point-by-point response. We recently published that as well.
I want to be clear that the Paper was not intended to single out any member of the House Administration Committee, but the Congressman speaking has an important voice because he represents himself to be technically competent in cybersecurity. That being so, his remarks were some of the most important because they are likely to carry the greatest weight of presumed authority and correctness.
After listening, I was compelled to clarify some of those remarks. So, on the whole, that Paper is more for legislators and their staffs. But I was also asked to break that into some right-sized chunks for a general audience—hence the Plain Talk series.
Most important is I’m appreciative of anyone, especially legislators, for working through the complicated issues of election security—whether the conversation is a bit of tangle (like that recent Markup Session), or spot-on in simplicity (where I hope the Plain Talk series will help in the future).
The common factor, in all cases, is that today election security, as a matter of public policy, is top of mind for nearly everyone involved. The good news is nearly everyone appreciates the impact of both nation state actors and cybersecurity risks to election infrastructure. And everyone engaged is starting to realize that election infrastructure includes a number of different systems, such as ballot casting and counting; voter registration services; results reporting services; and other election administration technology that officials depend on to ensure verifiable, accurate, and secure elections that are as transparent in technology and process as possible.
So, I hope my 7-part series is useful. I also hope our Paper clarifying a number of remarks made by a well-meaning Congressman, who plays an important role given his background on the House Administration Committee, is seen as constructive and helpful.
And I am hopeful that the importance and priority now given to election security will elevate the learning about the related technology and services in order to bring about better legislation—where required—to increase confidence in elections and their outcomes.