Thank you Governor Carney, Senator Townsend and all the sponsors who worked to pass SB 121, Delaware’s first elections audit bill
The integrity of our elections is important to all of us, no matter our background or our political party.
Delaware invested millions in new voting equipment in 2016 but put no systems in place to assess their performance, or make sure there is no tampering with the system. Common Cause supports legislation mandating post-election audits. Such systems are used to catch human errors as well as actions by those who may seek to hack our elections.
The 2016 election was a wake up call for all of us in this country. As the facts have slowly emerged about the attack on our voter registration and election systems we know how important protecting and validating our elections are. Delaware was one of the first states to find out about the attempted intrusion and The Department of Elections and DTI have worked diligently to improve the security of our system and voter information.
Part of protecting our elections is validating that the winning candidate received the most votes. We do that by auditing our elections, by checking to make sure that the vote totals aggregated by the devices are accurate. This audit law is a significant step for Delaware, who has languished under a system where the majority of votes had no paper trail, and no way to verify that the count was accurate. I remember when I moved here in 2006, when I voted there was no paper, no receipt nothing, and I asked the poll worker where it went. It was inside there? Being from the Show Me State, I really wanted someone to show me. Now, each election will be tested, and we hope that additional safeguards such as risk limiting audits will be added as another layer of protection.
Part of protecting our elections also means we will now have back up paper ballots in the event that the devices fail. The paper ballots used in our Absentee system will continue to be checked in the event of a close contest and the process for hand review is now part of the State law. The law also provides that all Legislators will have access to the election results and the voter selection cards produced by the devices. This is a major improvement in the transparency in our elections.
The Senate Intelligence report documents the extensive attacks from 2016 and we understand that ongoing attempts to interfere with our elections are expected. There are also multiple ways to hack any and every electronic system and we know the Russians and others are active even now. Even with help from Department of Homeland Security and more IT staff Delaware must remain vigilant to protect our democracy, far more than depending on our firewall, we must work to protect against any and every potential intrusion. We are far more prepared than in 2016 and I want to again thank all the Legislators, staff and Governor for their efforts.