Matt Masterson: “For trusted elections, we should model 2020”

New oped in The Hill:

In the wake of the horrific Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — which was fueled by months of lies and conspiracy theories — election officials are left to pick up the pieces of our fractured democracy and begin to rebuild trust in our elections. They cannot and should not be asked to do this alone. 

It took a whole of government effort to secure the 2020 election and it will take that same level of investment to restore confidence in future elections. President Biden and his administration can play a critical role in this work.

First, the new administration must double down on support to state and most importantly, local election officials. These heroes are being asked to defend their systems against threats from criminal actorsnation states and purveyors of disinformation. …

Second, the Biden administration should quickly push for the replacement of any voting system that does not produce a paper record of the vote. Election officials have made steady progress in this area, with more than 92 percent of votes cast on a verifiable paper ballot in the 2020 election. This improvement proved to be vital in the days following the election, when lies about hacked voting machines began to spread among the public. In response to these lies, the state of Georgia took the unprecedented step of hand counting more than five million ballots to verify the accuracy of the machine-counted results. Georgia would not have been able to do this as recently as 2018, when the state used completely paperless systems that produced no independently auditable record. ….

Finally, the administration should work with the nation’s governors, secretaries of state, election directors, mayors and county officials to make meaningful financial investments in state and local IT security. An investment in local IT security and resources is an investment in election security. 

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