Click here to see Gov. Phil Murphy's 2017 Candidate Questionnaire, where he indicated his support of state-wide paper ballots.
"Mercer’s Voting Machines: Old, Hackable, and Not Going Anywhere," by Rob Anthes, Front Page of U.S.1, Oct. 30, 2019
A voting machine malfunction in 2004 led Hopewell resident Stephanie Harris to file a lawsuit
that continued through the administrations of three governors. Photo by Suzette Lucas.
This past summer the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report on the Russian government’s attacks on America’s election infrastructure. The report said there was an urgent need to secure America’s voting machines. It recommended states replace outdated and vulnerable machines with, at least, a voter-verified paper trail and to begin conducting statistically sound audits.
But in many New Jersey counties that won’t happen.
“It’s our feeling that the 2020 election will be one of the most important of our lifetimes, and New Jersey will be voting on a very, very vulnerable system,” said Harris, who now serves as chair of the Coalition for Peace Action’s voting integrity taskforce. “The whole thing is extremely frustrating.” (Click to read full in-depth article.)
Click here for a great resource on voting security - works by Andrew Appel, Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University.
(2018) New Jersey Government officials have failed to protect our vote in November by refusing to allocate funds for new paper ballot voting machines. New Jersey is one of only five states that have paperless voting machines that are insecure, vulnerable to hacking, and prevent a recount or audit because of a lack of voter-marked paper ballots for every vote cast. Security experts have cited this as a “national security threat.”
Show them that voters demand voter-marked paper ballots to protect our vote!
The only way for voters to cast a paper ballot that can be independently audited or recounted is to request a mail-in paper ballot. Ask your County Clerk to send you an application, or go to the Clerk’s office in person to obtain one. Fill out the ballot, and either mail it to or walk it into the County Board of Elections. Act now before it is too late and we lament another stolen election!
"America's Elections Could Be Hacked. Go Vote Anyway," New York Times Editorial Board, October 19, 2018
"The key fixes are relatively simple, and everyone agrees on what they are.
One, provide a paper trail for every vote. Hackers work most effectively in the dark, so they love voting machines that produce no paper verification. Currently, five states — Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina — run their elections entirely on paperless touch-screen machines. But all five states are considering a switch back to paper ballots in time for 2020. In this year’s midterms, 19 states and Washington, D.C., will use only paper ballots.
Two, audit the vote. The best way to do this is known as a risk-limiting audit, which means comparing the digital tally to a manual count of a randomized sample of paper ballots. This type of audit can identify voting tabulation errors resulting from either malicious attacks or software failures.
Three, give states more resources. After dragging its feet for years, Congress in March approved $380 million in grants to states for election security. A little more than a third of the money will be spent on enhancing cybersecurity. A little more than a quarter will go toward buying new voting equipment. The rest will be spent on improving voter-registration systems, running vote audits and communicating better with voters around election time.
That money is good, but it’s far from enough. And while the states are spending it in the right ways, Congress could help even more by passing the Secure Elections Act, a bipartisan bill that appeared headed toward passage until it got hung up over the summer.
What can voters do? For starters, take advantage of early voting if your state offers it. The sooner votes are in, the more time officials have to detect irregularities. “Every time someone votes early, they’re part of the fight against foreign interference,” said David Becker, who runs the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
Most important, don’t stay home because you believe that cyberattacks will rig the results of the election. “It’s true that these systems are vulnerable,” said Mr. Blaze, the voting-security expert. “It’s also true that you should vote on Election Day. The worst outcome would be if people conclude that there’s no point in voting.”" (Read full article here).
HACKING AN ELECTION IN NJ IS SURPRISINGLY EASY, EXPERTS WARN, NJ 101.5, by Dino Flammia, October 18, 2018
Irene Goldman, chair of Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, said the amendment weakens Mazzeo's bill immensely, and the optical scan system is the "simple, clean, easy, less expensive way" to count votes.
"Forty-five states already are doing this," Goldman said. "We're sort of at the tail end, so let's do it right." (Read full article here).
"As the 2018 elections approach, the American intelligence community is issuing increasingly dire warnings about potential interference from Russia and other countries, but the voting infrastructure remains largely unchanged. D.H.S. has now conducted remote-scanning and on-site assessments of state and county election systems, but these are still largely Band-Aid measures applied to internet-facing servers. They don’t address core vulnerabilities in voting machines or the systems used to program them. And they ignore the fact that many voting machines that elections officials insist are disconnected from the internet — and therefore beyond the reach of hackers — are in fact accessible by way of the modems they use to transmit vote totals on election night. Add to this the fact that states don’t conduct robust postelection audits — a manual comparison of paper ballots to digital tallies is the best method we have to detect when something has gone wrong in an election — and there’s a good chance we simply won’t know if someone has altered the digital votes in the next election.
How did our election system get so vulnerable, and why haven’t officials tried harder to fix it?" (Read full article here).
"Dems' Bill Pushes Murphy to Move Faster on New Voting Machines," NJ 101.5, by Michael Symons, Sept. 10, 2018
""It would be our desire that 100 percent of any federal funds be used for new voting machines,” said Stephanie Harris, chairwoman of a voting integrity task force for the Coalition for Peace Action, which advocates for voter-verified paper ballots.
Harris estimates that optical-scanner voting systems, in which a person uses a pen or pencil to mark a ballot that’s then run through a machine for counting, would cost $36 million statewide if it purchased or less if it is leased.
The Brennan Center for Law and Justice at New York University estimates it would cost between $40.4 million and $63.5 million for New Jersey to replace all its voting machines.
Harris said Gov. Phil Murphy promised funding for optical-scan machines as a candidate but didn’t deliver in his first budget. She said the Legislature hasn’t in years, either, even after enacting a law in 2005 requiring voter-verified paper ballot machines by 2008.
“The voters of New Jersey are now at significant risk, and our government has failed us,” Harris said.
“The outrage is that the proposal of the use of federal money is to be used on a pilot project which, in their words, is a very small pilot project,” Harris said. “So if it’s only a few areas in a few counties in New Jersey, that means that the bulk of the voters in New Jersey will not benefit at all from those federal dollars.”
The Rev. Robert Moore, executive director of the Coalition for Peace Action, said the proposed legislation – S2884/A4409, also sponsored by Sen. James Beach, D-Camden, and Assemblyman Roy Freiman, D-Somerset – is “a good start” toward voter-marked paper ballots.
“Pretty much anything that is electronically based can malfunction and be hacked,” Moore said. “It’s actually shameful that New Jersey is one of just five states that doesn’t have that essential security device in place.”" (Click to read full article).
"6 Ways to Fight Election Hacking and Voter Fraud, According to an Expert Panel," New York Times, Michael Wines, Sept. 6, 2018
"1. Use paper ballots to establish a backup record of each vote.
Even if voter databases and other equipment aren’t connected to the internet, experts said, it will be hard to protect computer systems from cyber threats. As a result, they recommend that by 2020, every voting machine nationwide should generate a backup paper record of each vote." (Read the other recommendations here).
"N.J. is getting $10M to safeguard elections from hacking. It may not be enough," by S.P. Sullivan, Trenton Times, Aug. 17, 2018
"Stephanie Harris, the chair of a voting task force at the nonprofit group Coalition for Peace Action, said New Jersey's election vulnerabilities date back far longer than 2016.
Her group was part of a years-long legal fight to force New Jersey to replace its current machines -- most of which collect and record votes electronically -- with ones that produce a paper record that can later be audited if questions arise.
Harris said the most immediate threat to election integrity in New Jersey had "nothing to do with Russia, but with human error or a malevolent action" in local elections, where a race can hinge on a handful of votes.
She said Gov. Phil Murphy -- who told her group during his campaign that he supported the move to paper ballots -- could issue an executive order speeding up the process in time for the November elections." (Read full article here).