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 and allies orchestrated a successful national campaign to educate policy makers and help them to implement appropriate federal and state security reforms. This effort included conferences, letters to Congress, and Congressional briefings and hearings. Our efforts culminated in the Secure Elections Act (S.2953) introduced in December of 2017 by a bipartisan group of six Senators, and launch of a similar bipartisan measure in the US House, the PAPER Act (H.R. 3751).
The immediate aim of both bills is to secure federal support and training for states and counties to harden their electronic infrastructure, to replace antiquated paperless voting machines before the 2018 and 2020 federal elections, and to ensure election administrators have the auditing tools and training to detect and thwart a cyber-attack.
Over the past year, NEDC has achieved a range of successes, including:
Publishing 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, and other outlets; won endorsements for proposals from editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and others.
Recruiting high-profile national security authorities including former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, and intelligence analyst and Fox News commentator Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (Ret.) as spokespersons.
Providing testimony to Congressional Committees, including at high profile hearings of the Senate Intelligence Committee and House Oversight Committee.
Conducting Congressional briefings on election security to galvanize action around legislation and educate staff on critical questions.
Drafting and disseminating a Congressional letter from 100 of the nation’s leading experts on cybersecurity and election administration from across government, the private sector, and academia proposing federal election cybersecurity reforms.
Organizing and disseminating letters of support for election security legislation from Secretaries of State, the National Association of County Officials, and top cybersecurity experts, including former heads of CIA and DHS.
Building partnerships with progressive leaders and integrating election security into a broader democracy platform through speeches, articles, and a recent strategy session at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
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.