A crisis makes us think differently. Hopefully, another prickly presidential election result tally isn't needed to embrace our election system as a critical national infrastructure, do more to protect it against threats, and make it more participatory.
Transportation systems, dams and energy facilities are "critical infrastructures," recognized as essential to long-term well-being, requiring vigilant protection. But these known "hard targets" are not more important to our country than the foundational notion of a republic, that our government leaders are selected by the will of a majority of Americans.
Yet we face the reality of foreign adversaries twisting information that Americans use to form their opinions on whom to elect; technology deficiencies curbing election turnout at roughly 50%; and voters staying home wrongly thinking their votes won't make a difference.
To understand what we are up against, let's break down election threats into three categories:
- Voting technology manipulation and disruption: We need to create convenient, secure voting from smartphones or home computers.
- Voter suppression: We need confidentiality and trust of interim vote tallies.
- Information poisoning: We need better integrity on the true source and accuracy of content pertaining to election issues.