Extending the vote so that officials have a week or even a month to deal with it means that the severity of any problem – whether it’s a technical glitch or a malicious attack – is dramatically reduced.
One example came in October, when Democrats registered in Florida began receiving intimidating emails warning them to “Vote Trump or whatever!”
The emails claimed to be from the US hate group Proud Boys, but US intelligence officials said shortly after analyzing the evidence that they were in fact sent by Iranians trying to intervene.
The posts could have sparked chaos, but they were flawed as they arrived in the middle of a long voting period, rather than before the start. US officials had more time than usual to tackle the problem, and many people had already voted.
“If this had happened the day before November 3, and if it was the only voting day, the consequences could have been much greater,” says Levine, who now focuses on electoral integrity as a member. of the Alliance for the Security of Democracy. , a bipartisan group designed to counter foreign interference.
Evidence shows Americans like to expand the vote once they have access to it. As the issue becomes controversial at the national level, the record of states and local governments shows that if you give voters more options, they want to keep them. Over the past two decades, Similar blue and red states tried postal elections and followed them.
Whether these changes persist remains to be seen. But although the 2020 electoral process is almost complete (the Electoral College votes on December 14), the task of improvement in the next election begins almost immediately. Generally off-year elections, like the one the United States will hold in November 2021, are excellent testing grounds for new ideas. So, over the next few months, the Biden administration and states across the country will begin to focus on the future.
This is an excerpt from The Outcome, our weekly election integrity and security email. Click here to receive regular updates straight to your inbox.