I think we can agree on the proposition that free and fair elections are crucial to American democracy and to the preservation of our republic. That said, how does Nevada rank among states in terms of our election security. The Center for American Progress gives Nevada a “C.” The think tank reviewed the following categories:
- Minimum cybersecurity standards for voter registration systems
- Voter-verified paper ballots
- Post-election audits that test election results
- Ballot accounting and reconciliation
- Return of voted paper absentee ballots
- Voting machine certification requirements
- Pre-election logic and accuracy testing
Nevada gets mixed reviews in category 1, the registration system is about ten years old, but does provide for some important cybersecurity checks for intrusions. There is currently no requirement for cybersecurity training for all election officials in the state, nor has the State reached out to DHS for any assistance in auditing or improving its system. Secretary of State Cegavske is an alternate member of a national task group on election cybersecurity, but no indication is given in the report whether or not her participation has yielded improvements in Nevada’s system, or whether more security emphasis is placed on the Office of Cyber Defense Coordination.
There is one major loophole in the Nevada system: “The state permits UOCAVA voters to submit completed ballots electronically, via email or by fax.986” This is a notoriously fragile practice and one wide open to possible manipulation.
A full reading of this important study is highly recommended. It’s also important for Nevadans to support the Election Assistance Commission, which is under Republican attack in Congress, since that is the specific agency tasked with establishing testing standards for voting machines.