Election Resiliency – 2021 Grant Pilot Project
Examining Opportunities to Improve Resiliency and Accessibility in the Election System
The National Cybersecurity Center (NCC), in partnership with Tusk Philanthropies
The National Cybersecurity Center’s Secure the Vote seeks to increase confidence in the integrity of elections and improve security around gaps in the infrastructure. With this mission, Secure the Vote looks forward to launching voting pilots in 2021 to ask the question of how different technology options might make the overall election infrastructure more resilient and accessible. The pilots will occur via a grant application in which jurisdictions will identify a key resiliency challenge that they seek to remedy via some level of an alternative voting method.
Pilots will take place in jurisdictions that successfully apply for the grant.
Voting behaviors are changing. The percentage of voters casting a ballot in-person on election day has fell from 89.5% in 1996, to below 60% in each major election since 2014.
Voting regulations are changing. More voters are now able to register online, or in-person on election day, take advantage of early-voting periods, and vote through different methods (absentee & mail-in voting) that enable a larger number of voters to submit ballots without setting foot in a polling station.
Voting technology is changing. Despite security concerns, four states now allow for electronic ballot delivery/return via a web portal: one state uses a blockchain app for UOCAVA voters, 19 states plus DC allow limited number of voters to return a ballot via email or fax, and seven states allow some voters to return a ballot via fax.
Voting trends have changed significantly over the past few decades, and the 2020 response to a pandemic, opening even more alternatives to voters, may lead to an even greater shift in what voters and jurisdictions need or want for a resilient, secure and safe voting experience. With that in mind, Secure the Vote looks to explore how the adoption of different voting methods might improve resilience and accessibility.