Free and fair elections are a foundational pillar of American democracy, one it has held other countries accountable for throughout history. In 2016, the U.S. presidential election was engulfed in the controversy of election interference. While many questions remain unanswered, it is clear that much more must be done to protect one of Americans’ fundamental rights—the right to vote. Electronic voting machines that produce no verified record are in use in many states, and most states do not have audits that are robust enough to detect malware which could impact vote counts. Resolving these and other election security issues are of critical importance ahead.
On September 8, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence and the Governance Studies program at Brookings hosted an event focused on the national security concerns surrounding election security in the United States. Panelists included Brookings Distinguished Fellow John R. Allen; Brookings Fellow Susan Hennessey; Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan; and Dean Logan of the Los Angeles County government. Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow and director of research in Foreign Policy at Brookings, moderated the discussion.