If the mainstream media is telling Americans not to panic, should that be a cue for us to keep our eyes wide open?
A recent piece at Politico is sounding the alarm bell about upcoming changes to federal voting machine certification guidelines. Per the article’s author, Zach Montellaro, the cause for worry is not the update itself, but the way in which these changes can be used by the Right, particularly supporters of President Donald Trump, as “misinformation” in order to sow doubt about the credibility of the 2024 election.
“A desperately overdue update of federal guidelines could dovetail into conspiracy theories about voting machines,” the Politico piece’s subheading reads.
The new standards were adopted by the Election Assistance Commission in early 2021 — in the wake of the contentious 2020 election, which many voters across the country believe was decisively influenced by voter fraud that favored Joe Biden.
According to an EAC press release, updates include:
- Improved cybersecurity requirements to secure voting and election management systems associated with the administration of elections.
- Software independence
- Requires systems to be air-gapped from other networks and disallows the use of wireless technologies
- Physical security
- Multi-factor authentication
- System integrity
- Data protection
- Ensures devices are capable of importing and exporting data in common data formats
- Requires manufacturers to provide complete specifications of how the format is implemented
- Requires that encoded data uses a publicly available method
There are also guidelines for improved ballot secrecy and auditability.
Although the new guidelines ostensibly aren’t slated to go into effect until after the 2024 elections, election officials worry that EAC’s use of the word “deprecation” — referring to the classification of equipment as obsolete. Election officials are concerned about the word’s vagueness, saying it might cause confusion and cause voters to think machines are being “decertified.”
Kathy Boockvar, a former Pennsylvania secretary of state, told Politico that “deprecation” is “a terrible word because nobody really knows what it means, but it sounds very bad.”
As a result, the agency has removed the word “deprecation” from its website, replacing it with language of “migration” to new standards.
The National Association of State Election Directors wrote a letter to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in which they describe their fears of “false information” regarding the new standard:
NASED members support and understand the need to encourage voting equipment manufacturers to build to the VVSG 2.0 and election offices to purchase that equipment, but we have serious concerns that false information will mischaracterize the consequences of the VVSG 1.0 deprecation. Given this, we believe it is imperative that the EAC immediately undertake a comprehensive messaging and education campaign directed at voters, federal and state legislators, election officials, and members of the media describing what deprecation of the VVSG 1.0 means. We also believe the EAC website must include a formal statement about what deprecation of the VVSG 1.0 means that election offices can use for official purposes, including in litigation. The EAC and all their public communications must be unambiguous: voting systems certified to the VVSG 1.0 will remain federally certified after November 15, 2023, and jurisdictions can continue using and purchasing those systems consistent with state or territorial laws and regulations.
History has proven that false information will spread regarding the seemingly bureaucratic components of the EAC’s voting system testing and certification program.
EAC chair Christy McCormick affirmed that the country is unlikely to see new systems in the 2024 presidential election, declaring that a “fifty state effort is needed,” but that her agency lacks the funds to launch an adequate educational campaign to fully counter what she perceives as the danger of disinformation.
A survey from late last year found that Americans are more likely to believe that the 2020 election was rigged than not to believe so.
The poll, conducted October 30 by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on behalf of Newsweek, surveyed 1,500 eligible voters in the United States. Forty percent of these respondents agreed that the 2020 election was fraud-ridden.
By contrast, thirty-six percent of respondents believe the election was legitimate, yet 34 percent of this group said it was understandable that people could think otherwise.
This means that more than 52 percent of Americans believe either that the election was fraudulent or that this point of view is understandable. These figures are in line with previous research, as a March Rasmussen Reports survey found that by “a margin of 52% to 40%, voters believe that ‘cheating affected the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election,’” per RealClearPolitics.
Knowing how the mainstream media works to frame political narratives that favor the establishment, should the latest alarmism about “disinformation” be viewed as a case of admission?
That is, do the interests that perpetrated voter fraud in 2020 want to preemptively play down concerns about voter fraud in 2024 because they anticipate that similar tactics will be employed — and they wish to quell any resistance?