Modernization of voting equipment largely stalled, survey of states finds
State and local election officials in 31 states say they want to update voting equipment before the 2020 election, but most believe they don't have the money to do so, according to a survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School.
States received $380 million in election security grants from Congress last year, but there's general consensus that the total is not remotely close to what's required to replace outdated and not reliably secure balloting hardware. Russian hackers are widely suspected of searching for vulnerabilities in several states' voting systems in the last presidential election.
The intelligence community says there's no evidence any results were altered, but the vulnerabilities will only be easier to exploit four years later. The biggest concern is with the dozen states where electronic voting machines do not provide printouts confirming each voter's choices.
Of these, Delaware has dedicated money to replacements in time for next year's election, the Georgia and South Carolina legislatures are on course to earmark similar spending, and Louisiana's plan is temporarily on hold because of a contract award dispute. The Brennan Center says modernization is essentially at a standstill in the other states: Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
House Democrats are continuing their push for stronger voting rights protections, releasing findings Thursday from a series of 2019 field hearings across the country on impediments to voting.
The 144-page report concludes that "the fundamental right to vote is under attack" and calls for congressional action.
But the report, prepared by the Democrats on a House subcommittee with jurisdiction over elections policy, does not include any of the views of minority Republicans, who said in a separate statement that they disagree with the Democrats' conclusions.
The usual practice in Congress is to include dissenting views in all committee reports, so the breakdown of that process is further evidence of Capitol Hill's ever more harshly partisan tone in general and its recent approach to voting rights in particular.
Molineaux is the co-founder and executive director of Bridge Alliance, a coalition of more than 90 civic reform groups. (Disclosure: The Bridge Alliance Education Fund is a funder of The Fulcrum.)
I grew up watching reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show" in the late 1970s. It always felt to me a little nostalgic for its lessons that simple living was best. I enjoyed the show and still appreciate the values the show exemplifies.
A few years ago, as I was watching our societal divisions widen, I explored the idea of having Sheriff Andy meet Captain Picard of "Star Trek: the Next Generation." I researched and talked with people about how to help these two fictional characters meet and converse. Eventually I abandoned the idea as a fun thought experiment without a conclusion.
Maybe I was pursuing the wrong goal — and seeking something else could help improve our civil discourse.