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The State of Reform
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Vote's threatened by more than the virus, report reminds: Don't forget cyber attacks.

Going into this election year, states had set side some of their own funds and an infusion of federal cash for bolstering election security. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, officials were forced to use some of that money for more immediate public health concerns.

So how do election officials ensure the right cybersecurity protections are in place, while also navigating the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis? Two good-government groups, the Alliance for Securing Democracy and the Bipartisan Policy Center, offer guidance and best practices in a report released Wednesday.

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Marshalling Resources for Voting

Organizer: Bipartisan Policy Center

America's election officials are scrambling to administer upcoming elections during an unprecedented pandemic. Federal assistance is desperately needed to adjust to new realities on the ground. Congress has appropriated $400 million through the CARES Act for emergency election security grants, a critical infusion of cash for election administrators. Will states and local administrators receive the funds in time to use them this fall? How will states use this funding? Will it be enough for elections to administered safely and legitimately? States have various needs spanning from security upgrades to procuring envelopes in anticipation of an influx in mail voting.

Join Bipartisan Policy Center Elections Project Director Matthew Weil as he leads a panel discussion about how the U.S. Election Assistance Commission is working with state and local officials to distribute federal funds and provide key resources to protect America's voters and voting systems. Weil will be joined by two EAC Commissioners as well as state and local election administrators.

Location: Webinar

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Broad remake of voting procedures nationwide urged by bipartisan panel

All states should adopt automatic voter registration, expand mail-in voting and implement new auditing practices to assure the accuracy of vote counts, a bipartisan panel of election administrators proposed Thursday.

A 57-page report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which convened a task force of officials to come up with ideas, offers 21 recommendations that cover all aspects of elections, from registration to casting and certifying ballots.

The recommendations, adopted unanimously by the nearly two dozen local and state election administrators from across the country, are intended to provide a roadmap for state legislatures to follow, said Matthew Weil, director of the BPC's effort. Lawmakers are convening in most state capitals this month for their annual sessions, so there is still time for election overhauls to be put in place before the November presidential election.

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Balance of Power

Government watchdogs over-emphasize waste but under-stress mission accomplishment, think tank says

Those involved with oversight of the executive branch should do more than simply investigate waste, fraud and abuse, one of the most prominent "good government" think tanks has concluded.

In a report released Tuesday, the Bipartisan Policy Center examined how executive branch agencies review their own operations and how Congress puts fresh eyes on the bureaucracy, analyzed the effectiveness of current practices, and offered recommendations to improve processes.

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