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Time to Be Good Stewards of Our Voting Process • Atascadero News

Dear Editor, 

I have had a hard time comprehending that there is something wrong with wanting, even demanding that elections be transparent and open for examination. We, as taxpayers, purchased the equipment, we pay for the office space, we pay the people that work in those spaces. As a taxpayer, we certainly should have access to every aspect of the election process. 

Let’s be honest, there are a plethora of ways to cheat in an election; loose signature verification, dead people on our voter rolls, mass mail out ballots, etc. Cheating happens at all levels. What makes us think that it doesn’t happen in our elections? A mother in Pensacola, Florida hacked the school computers to change the votes so that her daughter would win homecoming queen. What we have at stake is far greater than a high school prom. Let’s not be so naive to think that cheating never happens or that our election process is free from tampering. 

In an article written by Alfred Ng back on Feb. 18, 2020, he explained how an up-and-coming product made by Microsoft named ”ElectionGuard” addressed the crucial concern in US democracy: the integrity of the vote. 

The article is quoted as stating, “With ElectionGuard, Microsoft isn’t setting out to create an unhackable vote-no one thinks that possible—but rather a vote in which hacks would be quickly noticed.” (1)

In 2017, Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator (D), voiced her concerns stating, “Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. It is clear that a foreign adversary attempted to undermine our election-and now we are learning that as many as 39 states may have been hit by Russian hackers.” (2)

An article “Electoral System in Crisis,” written on Jul. 25, 2016, states that “The portrait of an electoral system in crisis is further supported by reports from election integrity organizations, media outlets, and individuals on social media that voting is increasingly taking place in a corrupt environment. This contextual evidence of voters purged from the rolls, registrations lost in the mail, party registrations being changed without a voters’ knowledge or intent, voters being sent incorrect ballots, a shortage of ballots, polling places being closed, discouragingly long lines in targeted precincts and states, and disturbingly large disparities between initial exit polls and official results, lends credence to the argument that if one form of fraud is already in play, another form of fraud is more plausible.” (3)

Voter integrity is a dynamic and complex issue, but if we are to have confidence in the votes we cast, then this issue must be addressed. I applaud our three Board of Supervisors that were willing to acknowledge the issue of election integrity. 

It is time to be good stewards of our voting process. It is time for us to face the possibility of election interference and fraud. Let’s not be afraid to take a closer look behind the curtain. We, as taxpayers, deserve complete transparency. 

Hollye Parsley, Atascadero

References 

(1) https://www.cnet.com/features/this-could-be-microsofts-most-important-product-in-2020-if-it-works/

(2)klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/6/klobuchar-statement-on-reports-that-russians-hacked-election-infrastructure-in-39-states

(3) electoralsystemincrisis.org/