We're all alarmed by attempts to undermine the integrity of our elections. These may include external threats involving indirect manipulation of voters by social media and foreign powers and attempts to hack or interfere directly with the process of voting and vote counting, as well as internal threats involving baseless claims of voter fraud; voter intimidation; excessive voter ID requirements; and limiting access to the polls by limiting early voting days/hours and placing polls in inconvenient locations. Our focus today is on external threats. The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently published this excellent, thorough overview of the issue: Election Security in All 50 States.
Many state officials are concerned that the federal government is not taking these threats seriously enough, thus endangering our 2018 elections. WaPo, State elections/cybersecurity threats. NC's Attorney General, Josh Stein, was among them. NC DoJ.
Kim Strach, Executive Director of the NC Board of Elections (BoE) and Ethics Enforcement, released this statement in late February: How NC is meeting the threat of election security. Her board has requested increased funding for election security and changes in state laws from the NC General Assembly (NCGA): WRAL. These requests should be considered during the May short session.
The CAP gives NC a "B" grade: "North Carolina adheres to a number of minimum cybersecurity best practices related to voter registration systems and conducts its elections using paper ballots and voting machines that provide a paper record. However, its post-election audits do not currently include provisional ballots. North Carolina allows voters stationed or living overseas to return voted ballots electronically, a practice that election security experts say is notoriously insecure." Read the whole analysis of NC, including specific suggestions for improvement, on p. 136ff: Election Security in All 50 States.
We can be reassured that NC is in better shape than many states - and there's room for improvement. What can we do as voters?
- Stay informed.
- Let our NCGA legislators know that we support the NC BoE's recommended changes in state laws and increased funding to protect our election security; find them here.
- Attend your county Board of Elections meetings. Find the website here.
- Contact the NC BoE to let them know you support the additional suggestions for improvement contained in the CAP report.