The latest in election integrity

The latest in election integrity

The latest in election integrity

A legal scholar and expert on election integrity issues believes paper ballots are the final arbiter when it comes to ensuring integrity in future elections.

An advisory recently sent to state election officials from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency reveals that the electronic voting machines from a leading vendor used in at least 16 states have software vulnerabilities that leave them susceptible to hacking if unaddressed. The author of the advisory insists, however, that there is no evidence to show that the vulnerabilities were exploited in the 2020 election.

von Spakovsky, Hans (Heritage) von Spakovsky

"There's no evidence so far that that has actually happened," responds Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation and manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative there. "What he warned about is that the vulnerabilities are such that nobody walking casually into a voting place to use electronic voting machines is going to be able to do this. But what he warned about were insiders who have access to the systems and possibly foreign countries who hack into it and are able to get into the network."

Von Spakovsky notes, though, that using computers to scan hand-marked paper ballots is okay.

"It's okay to use computer systems to count up those ballots, but the point of that is that if there ever is then a problem, if concerns are raised, you've got the hand-marked paper ballots so that you can hand count them and ensure that vote totals are correct," he explains. "That gives you an audit trail."

Meanwhile, a Christian law firm dedicated to election integrity is suing election officials in five Wisconsin cities over what it argues is the approval of the illegal use of mail-in ballot drop boxes.

A Wisconsin circuit court judge recently deemed it legal for private grants from a group funded by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg to be sent to the Democratic stronghold of Madison to help it run the 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling affirmed an earlier decision by the Wisconsin Elections Commission rejecting a complaint challenging the grant money from the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life as illegal bribery.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought on behalf of five voters by Erick Kardaal, a former secretary and treasurer for the Republican Party of Minnesota who now serves as special counsel with the Thomas More Society.

Kaardal, Erick (Thomas More Society) Kaardal

"The judge said basically, 'You lose, Mr. Kardaal, because your complaint wasn't specific enough,'" he summarizes. "These lawsuits against the Wisconsin Election Commission trying to get them to cooperate to investigate haven't worked. Apparently the Wisconsin Election Commission isn't interested in investigating even known illegalities."

But Kardaal and his firm had anticipated the ruling.

"So we had another group of plaintiffs in each of the five cities sue the election officials directly for the Zuckerberg-funded illegal absentee ballot drop boxes," he tells AFN. "Those lawsuits will continue directly against the election officials." 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to rule within weeks in a case that could determine the legality of drop boxes.

"In January, the Waukesha County Circuit Court found the absentee ballot drop boxes to be illegal. We're pretty confident that we're going to prevail because of the Wisconsin Supreme Court's 4-3 preliminary ruling saying the absentee ballot drop boxes are illegal," Kardaal concludes.