Your Right To Vote Is NOT Secure.
Every American should monitor their voter registration statusMonitor Registration
& Get Reminders
During the 2016 Presidential Election malicious foreign actors engaged in a sweeping campaign to corrupt and influence the vote. Our voting registration systems were a key attack vector for their efforts. A malicious actor with access to these systems could delete or alter your voter registration, affecting your ability to vote. At scale, such an attack could sow mass confusion during an election, resulting in long lines and inefficiencies that could deprive millions of Americans their right to vote.
But that is not the only threat our voter rolls face. States are purging their voter registration rolls, in some cases, illegally, and often based on faulty information. In the wake of the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act, nine states with histories of racial disenfranchisement are purging particularly aggressively.
The best way to defend against these threats is to monitor one's voter registration. Every American should do this, and if we all do, such an attack is rendered ineffective. We'd all be alerted to changes in our registration, and we'd all be able to fix any issues before the election. The Glass Capitol can monitor your voter registration for you automatically, for free, right here. We must defend our elections.
Hostile Foreign Powers & Voter Registration
Voter registration systems are assessed as “high risk” by our intelligence community because they are one of the few pieces of election technology regularly connected to the internet. On July 25, 2019 The Senate Intelligence Committee reported that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia during the 2016 election. There is no public evidence that they altered or changed any votes, but according to The Mueller Report, hackers did steal personal information from half-a-million voters from across the country.
In California for example, hackers penetrated state registration databases and gained access to the personal information of a large number of voters, demanding ransom (s4). In Florida, Russian hackers were able to gain access to at least one county’s systems. Wisconsin - a key swing state that delivered America to Donald J. Trump - purged 34% of its voters in xxxxx with an error rate of xxxx%. In Illinois foreign actors were in a position to alter or delete voter data, an attack which could sow mass confusion on election day.
There is no public evidence that The Russian Government corrupted our voter registration rolls despite gaining access to those systems. However, we cannot assume they will be so charitable in 2020, nor can we assume they are the only entity working to compromise our elections. Other malign actors will follow their lead. In 2017 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein likened the 2016 Russian attacks to a “single tree” in a “growing forest of threats.”
Voter Roll Purges - Threats From Our Own States
The threat to our voter registration status is not exclusively overseas. States routinely purge voters from the rolls. When done correctly, purges ensure the voter rolls are accurate and up-to-date. However, when done incorrectly, purges disenfranchise legitimate voters, contributing to potential confusion and delay during elections.
In 2016, thousands of eligible Brooklyn voters found their registration mising during the primary election. In Arkansas, 7,700 voters were purged based on faulty data, as were 39,000 voters in Virginia. In the past five years, four states engaged in illegal purges - Florida, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia; and another four states implemented unlawful purge rules - Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, and Maine. Unfortunately, many purges across all states are based on inaccurate information and faulty methods.
Most disturbingly, the Brennan Center’s Report details how nine states with histories of race based voting disenfranchisement are purging voters more aggressively than the norm. These states are enabled by a 2013 Supreme Court decision which gutted a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, these states are likely working to disenfranchise minority voters - Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia. It is clear that we all must monitor our voter registration status independently.
Our state governments are responsible for maintaining and housing our voter registration data. In light of many state’s mishandling of this responsibility, and overtly racist policies from state governments, we cannot assume they are good stewards of our data. Trust but verify. We must monitor our voter registration status and defend our elections.
The American Response
Our voter registration systems represent a key vulnerability for our elections and our democracy overall. Inaccurate voter registration rolls could deprive legitimate voters of their right to vote. These systems face significant threats both foreign and domestic. The domestic threat has historical roots in disenfranchising minority voters. The foreign attacks on our elections strike at the core of our democracy and the reason we fought for independence - self determination, without influence of a foreign power.
Election officials and security experts are working to address these problems. In March of 2019, Congress allocated $380 million for election security. Though this is a good start, and any counties used these funds for increased cybersecurity training and new election equipment, many local officials have complained these funds weren’t sufficient in addressing the threat. Presently, election administrators are not required to report any detected compromises or vulnerabilities in election registration systems (s4), and reports from our government have lacked candor at best. Over time, reports have slid from 13 to 26 to finally all 50 states being targeted by the Russian Government’s attack on our election. We cannot assume our state governments will be good stewards of our voter registration data.
We must take matters into our own hands. We can neutralize the threat to our voter registration rolls by monitoring our voter registration status, and updating it if we see any inaccurate information. The Glass Capitol’s monitoring tool can do that for you automatically. After your first check, we automatically schedule subsequent checks prior to your voter registration deadline, and we’ll notify you if any information changes. If foreign hackers alter your information or a state government purges your information, we will notify you. This is free for every American voter. We must address our election security as a people, and The Glass Capitol can aid everybody in doing so. We must protect our elections. Every American should monitor their voter registration status.