Elections Security Quick Win Checklist

By Philippe Langlois, security engineer and author of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report

This blog is being posted in collaboration with efforts of The Council of State Governments Overseas Voting Initiative. It outlines cybersecurity recommendations and was originally published on “The Turnout” blog available here: https://turnout.rocks/our-blog/elections-security-quick-win-checklist/

By now, cybersecurity isn’t a foreign concept to anyone working in the elections sector, especially as there’s been a welcome increase in resources, guidance, and new participants. Unfortunately, the deluge of advice from well-intended people isn’t necessarily easy for everyone to abide by while trying to get the final pieces ready for a big election. In a small effort to help elections officials get ready for the election, I’ve created a simple pre-election cybersecurity checklist to help prioritize some quick wins.

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Election Results: What to Expect as Ballots are Counted

By Laura Hinkle, The Council of State Governments Fellow

The 2020 general election is on track to pull some of the largest voter turnout in decades, with many states already reporting record high numbers of absentee ballot requests and returns. Millions of Americans are deeply invested in this election cycle, and as Election Day draws closer, there will be immense pressure on journalists and major news outlets to deliver election results as quickly and accurately as possible. For over a century, there has been precedent for news outlets to report election results on election night. While the intention behind this practice is to inform the general public, this practice can be incredibly misleading because many Americans aren’t aware that the results reported on election night are never official.

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Voting Amidst COVID-19: Ensuring Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

By Rachel Wright

With the implementation of strict public health measures in the U.S. in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually no aspect of American life has been left untouched. The conduct of elections has proven no exception. In an effort to prioritize the safety of voters and poll workers alike, numerous states have instituted no-excuse absentee voting, loosened requirements for permanent absentee status, expanded vote-by-mail procedures and explored drive-up options for voting and registration.

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COVID 19 Mail Disruptions Presents Challenges for Election Officials, May Disenfranchise Overseas Voters

By Taylor Lansdale and Casandra Hockenberry, CSG Overseas Voting Initiative

On April 24, the United States Postal Service (USPS) issued an alert listing service suspension around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. USPS is suspending acceptance of mail, until further notice, from 27 countries due to foreign postal operator suspensions. The notice also listed suspensions of mail services to 84 countries as a result of a lack of transportation. The same alert also listed several Diplomatic Post Offices as closed.

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Response to COVID-19: Elections

By Taylor Lansdale, Program Director, CSG Overseas Voting Initiative

Summary

  • COVID-19 has caused significant distress in the elections community.
  • Social distancing rules makes in-person voting a safety concern for both voters and election workers.
  • Polling sites are experiencing shortages of those poll workers, presumably because they are concerned about exposure to the virus.
  • States are taking different steps to overcome COVID-19 concerns:
    • Moving election dates
    • Expanding all-mail voting
    • Some states, such as Wisconsin, calling in National Guard to work polling places
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