BY LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER (RET.), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR - 03/07/17 11:50 AM EST
Good news: Most Americans still have at least some degree of confidence in our voting system. We have not devolved to the level of a third-world banana republic — yet.
But Americans' faith in elections has diminished considerably, and I believe justifiably. Now, only four in 10 citizens have "strong confidence" that their votes are counted as cast. Among Republicans, the proportion of people with faith in voting has fallen to just about a third.
Just the mere perception of a rigged system undermines the most basic foundations of our republic. America's incoming government has an obligation — and an opportunity — to restore the faith in our voting systems.
American elections used to be all about simplicity. You picked your candidates and marked off their names. Officials tabulated the results, and, if there was a problem, the officials conducted a simple review.
But no longer.
After the "hanging chad" fiasco of the 2000 election, the federal government stepped in and spent more than $2 billion to "upgrade" American elections. A major part of the federal "solution" was the purchase of computerized voting machines without paper ballots — or even paper trails — and few, if any, cybersecurity defenses.