“The fake cries of election fraud are actively harming our election system and, as a result, jeopardizing our very democracy. Rather than focusing on things that actually secure elections, some politicians have distracted Americans with lies and seek to restrict the ability of eligible voters to cast a ballot,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director at MAP.
“What’s worse is that the bold-face lies are both a distraction and an attack on truly ensuring that American elections are free, fair, and secure. The reality is that false narratives and big lies leave our elections vulnerable to serious threats – both from other countries and from within our borders,” said Mushovic.
The report details five policy approaches that states should adopt to truly secure elections, while also ensuring that every eligible voter is able to easily cast their vote.
Protecting Election Officials from Threats and Harassment
Preventing Insider Threats
Modernizing Voter Registration
Secure Technology for In-Person Voting and Voting by Mail
Appropriate Use of Post-Election Audits
Election Security Approach 1: Protecting election officials from threats and harassment Threats to election officials have risen to unprecedented levels following the 2020 election. A recent survey from the Brennan Center found that 1 in 3 election officials reported feeling unsafe because of their jobs and that 1 in 5 were concerned about threats to their lives.
The MAP report outlines the ways that horrific threats to election officials and their families – including death threats – have resulted in a mass exodus of qualified, experienced officials. The U.S. Department of Justice recently established an Election Threats Task Force, in part to address these threats. MAP’s Democracy Maps show that only three states (Colorado, Oregon, and Maine) have enacted laws that provide additional protections to election officials. Election Security Approach 2: Preventing Insider Threats The security and integrity of our elections have been threatened by bad faith actors working on the inside to sabotage election equipment and potentially impact election results. For example, election officials have granted unauthorized access to voter information and election results to political operatives. Resulting breaches have occurred in at least five states, including Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
States could enact laws – like Colorado did this year to increase election security by increasing penalties for facilitating authorized access to voting equipment and ensuring proper monitoring of voting equipment and systems. The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has also advised all states to adopt policies similar to those in Colorado.
Election Security Approach 3: Modernizing Voter Registration Three key policies can modernize voter registration while improving election security, increasing access, and lowering barriers to voting: automatic voter registration, ensuring accuracy of voter rolls, and online voter registration.
Mail voting has been used since the Civil War; the first absentee voters were soldiers casting their ballots from the battlefield. Voting by mail is still a proven secure way for many service members to vote, in addition to civilians. Online ballot tracking is an important way that states can further improve security of mail voting.
Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all.
MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life. MAP is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and donations to MAP are 100% tax-deductible. You can read more about MAP and the work we do on our About page.