OLYMPIA – For democracy to flourish, people must have faith that elections are fair and the outcomes are legitimate. Without this faith people become disillusioned, they lose confidence in the system, and begin to turn away from the civic responsibility of voting.
Today, the House of Representatives took action on measures designed to ensure the fairness, security, and legitimacy of our elections.
“While it is probably more likely to be hit by lightning than encounter in person voting fraud, it is better to be safe than sorry in either case. The measures we’ve passed today will establish Washington as a national leader in protecting the integrity and legitimacy of our elections from those who intend to undermine them,” said Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila), prime sponsor of the measures. “These measures will allow us to identify and get tough on those who attempt to undercut our elections, while assuring the public that we have a fair, secure, and transparent democratic process.”
The bills moved today include:
HB 2406 – Election Security Practices: Outlines “best practices” for election audits, by requiring county auditors to audit election results using at least one of the approved methods; Requires vendors of voting systems to disclose certain breaches of their system; Requires Secretary of State to investigate cause of discrepancies found during audits; Authorizes Secretary of State to decertify faulty/suspect systems.
HB 2387 – Mandatory election audits of ballot counting equipment: Makes the random check of ballot counting equipment mandatory rather than optional and requires an expanded audit in cases where a discrepancy is found.
HB 2527 – Evaluating random check procedures for ballot counting equipment: Requires the Secretary of State to survey and report on procedures for random checks of ballot counting equipment adopted by each county canvassing board.
A recent report from the Center for American Progress gives Washington a grade of “C” on election security. The study finds Washington’s post-election audits to be unsatisfactory. These measures will directly address these issues.
“Due to recent national events, Americans have become justifiably concerned with the security of our election system,” said Hudgins. “These bills encourage best practices for election security through auditing and emergency planning. They build off current practice by elections auditors, are a result of many interim conversations with auditors and other elections experts, and all passed out of committee on bipartisan votes.”
The measures now move the Senate for further consideration.