Monday, July 10, 2017

Getting Your Vote Counted

While a lot of attention has been focused on reports of Russian (or other) hacking attempts to interfere in our elections, the root cause for such concern should not be the attempts—but what could be wrong with our voting system that encourages such attempts:
A recent study from the Brennan Center for Justice points out two major ways in which hackers could succeed...aging voting machines and voter registration using outdated software. It listed 3 ways in which states can move to keep voting safe.
One, check voter registration systems regularly and upgrade if needed.
Two, replace old electronic voting machines that don’t have a paper trail—which allows independent checks for accuracy.
Three, audit votes. Only half the states do this, and often not well enough to catch ballot errors.
Congress and the states need to spend more money to see that these 3 things are done, done soon, and done sufficiently.
But there’s more...and these ideas were not in the Brennan report.
One..the BIG one..eliminate the Electoral College.  It stands to reason if hackers want to influence a close election, concentrating on one big, but vulnerable state’s voting system offers a much greater chance of success than if we switch to "one person, one vote”—where the winner is determined by the total national vote—and where hackers would have to influence many, many more votes in many states to have a chance for success.
Two...require states to set the district lines for Congressional and legislative seats by independent commissions and NOT by state legislatures. About 20 states do this now, Kentucky needs to join them...and with the next census looming, needs to set up such a commission right away. The Herald-Leader twice showed this approach works by coming up with Congressional districts far more equal  and far less “gerrymandered” than what the legislature did.
If we truly want to stop hackers, and ensure that every vote counts we need to improve our democracy as well as our software.   
I'm just sayin'...

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