Securing American Elections
The National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC) is a network of organizations and activists from all ends of the political spectrum, working to safeguard the elections institutions that are the basis of our republic. NEDC has a proven track record in uniting progressive and libertarian activists and officeholders as well as national security-minded conservatives to advance the causes of election security, reliability, and transparency.
Our coalition works to educate Congress and State officials regarding the overwhelming evidence that hacking threatens elections, and to build policy based on the consensus of nationally recognized experts. We bring together veteran congressional staffers, leading computer scientists, elections administrators, and seasoned political organizers to design and implement strategies for election protection reform.
This includes promoting and co-sponsoring Congressional briefings and testifying before Congress to advance principles of reform, and legislative remediation. We have worked to educate the public and lawmakers on the political and technical issues through media campaigns Town Hall meetings, press conferences, documentary film showings, articles, websites, and social media.
We’ve engaged Congressional staffers as well as state and county election administrators as partners and experts. Consequently we have crafted policy options that address State-Federal tensions, and are based on bipartisan areas of agreement.
We promote federal funding for appropriately upgrading elections technology, specifically in cash- strapped states and counties with insecure voting systems and standards.
In 2016-2017, the NEDC, working closely with our coalition partners, orchestrated a successful national campaign to educate policy makers and urge them to implement federal and state security reforms. This effort culminated in the Secure Elections Act (S.2261) introduced in December of 2017 by a bipartisan group of six Senators; James Lankford (R-OK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). The NEDC has also supported the development and launch of a similar bipartisan measure in the US House, the PAPER Act (H.R. 3751).
In November and December of 2016 NEDC organized a post-election Congressional briefing attended by over 50 Congressional staff, media, and 8 members of Congress. NEDC also co-sponsored and funded a December Conference at the National Press Club which included reports on the the election recounts in WI, PA and MI, and reported election irregularities.
In late 2016 NEDC drafted a first-of-its-kind non-partisan statement of principles and policy options on election security, and then organized 103 of the nation’s leading expert scientists on cybersecurity and election administration experts from across government, the private sector, and academia, to sign a letter to Congress which outlines these same principles and policies.
In 2016, NEDC sponsored a Congressional Briefing on protecting elections and voter's rights, attended by over 150 members of Congress, staff, and media. NEDC worked with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) to create a panel on voting rights, and election defense solutions at the 2016 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
In January 2017, NEDC convened a high-level meeting at the Fordham University Law School Center for National Security to devise a non-partisan national strategy for passing election integrity legislation in Congress and statehouses across the country. The invitation only conference included former Bush Administration Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Obama Administration Cybersecurity chief Bruce McConnell, and computer scientists such as J. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan and Dan Wallach of Rice University. Also present were state and county elections officials and current and former senior Congressional staffers.
In May of 2017 NEDC organized a Congressional briefing on elections security attended by over 100 congressional House and Senate staffers and media. Our speakers included Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, election security advocate Susan Greenhalgh of the Verified Voting Foundation, cybersecurity expert and Fox Contributor Lt Col Tony Shaffer, elections reform expert Lawrence Nordan from the NYU Brennan Center for Justice, and Professor Alex Halderman of Michigan University.
In June of 2017 NEDC adviser Alex Halderman entered the statement of principles letter into the official record during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017. The statement was simultaneously presented to the media in a press release, and has been circulated widely on Capitol Hill and in executive agencies.
- Over the course of the 2016 election cycle, and into early 2017, the NEDC coalition funded and led a major marketing campaign for the new feature-length non-partisan documentary firm I Voted?( Executive Producer Katie Couric). The film, which outlines the voting machines' vulnerability, has been screened in over twenty cities, including three showings in Washington DC and a screening for over 70 Congressional staffers.
- NEDC has published authoritative reports on election risks and solutions as well as prominent op-eds in Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fox News, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, and Wired; placing stories in the New York Times, Reuters, AP, Bloomberg, Vox, NPR, The TODAY Show and other outlets; won endorsements for proposals from editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and others.
Key Objectives and Activities in 2017-2018
Developing and advancing bipartisan federal election integrity legislation through a team of seasoned Republican and Democratic legislative and media consultants as well as high-level policy advisers and outside allies.
NEDC continues to strengthen partnerships with key Congressional offices, publishing op-eds in relevant publications to establish credibility with diverse stakeholders, and leveraging the release of the expert sign-on letter and activist campaigns toward legislative action.
Supporting the election integrity movement in state legislatures by creating and disseminating model bills across the country. NEDC will also connect state legislators with experts for testimony and develop advocacy tools for enabling the passage of reform measures.
Building the national grassroots movement for election security reform
NEDC is identifying a set of initial target states in which to implement a strategy of training citizen leaders, disseminating election administration best practices, sharing communications tools, and promoting policy reform templates. NEDC will host one or more in-person two-to-three day conferences for sharing ideas and ensuring that advocates are empowered with the tools and connections to succeed in driving reform.