Harper kicks off statewide Election Security Press Tour

Harper kicks off statewide Election Security Press Tour

Indiana Secretary of State Candidate Jim Harper kicked off a press tour aimed at raising awareness and addressing Hoosiers concerns over the state’s current election security vulnerabilities. Harper plans to bring further attention to current system oversights and specifically promote his proposal to establish a verified paper-trail for each vote cast, a uniform auditing system, and bring attention to the current administration’s all-to-late funding request to improve county machines and infrastructure in the wake of high-profile election tampering.

“Questions surrounding election security at the national level and most recently in our own state should prompt immediate action to ensure each vote is secure,” said Harper. “Voters expect the Secretary of State to use all resources possible to verify that our democratic process is in tact and that’s exactly what I’m calling for. We need a paper trail, we need a high-level auditing system, and we can’t keep leaving our infrastructure susceptible to foreign interests in election meddling.”

Harper is advocating for full conversion to paper ballots. By establishing a voter verified paper trail, voters are given the ability confirm that their ballots are cast precisely as they intend. By ensuring that all voting machines print out an optical scan sheet or touch screen receipt, voters have physical verification of their vote and a trail is left in the event of a recount or more sinister interference has occurred.

Harper is calling for risk assessment for all 92 counties. Risk-Limiting Audits (RLAs) provide strong statistical evidence that the reported outcome of an election is correct. RLAs also provide a high probability of discovering and taking appropriate action in the case of a wrong outcome. Over half of U.S. states already have uniform post-election audits that use paper records. As a matter of practice, a uniform auditing procedure should be in place for all counties to check votes cast against the results.

“What little funding we have to work with is too little, too late.” For the last two years, top U.S. intelligence officials have been adamantly suggesting that Russian entities are interfering with our elections. In Indiana alone, 6 counties have received notice of hacking, all compounded by the fact Indiana is running 2018 elections with 2002 technology.

“To have just now requested federal funding that has been on the table to shore up our election security and further, failed to request any funding from the legislature to address this issue is negligent at best,” continued Harper. “The ball has been dropped. What little funding we have to work with is too little, too late.”

The Center for American Progress gave Indiana’s election security an “F” grade earlier this year due to the level of susceptibility to hacking and manipulation by sophisticated nation-state.

Harper is set to visit Lafayette, Northwest Indiana, South Bend, Ft. Wayne, Muncie, Vincennes, New Albany, Lawrenceburg, Evansville and Terre Haute before wrapping up his election security tour in Indianapolis.

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