Several websites and organizations compile information about the security (or lack there of) of Fed, state, & local elections laws & protocols -- chain of custody, ballot access, voter registration security. This info is spread out, and often so specific that it is only accessed by and decipherable to "elections buffs." The constituents most in need of secure elections, and most capable of forcing their representatives
Several websites and organizations compile information about the security (or lack there of) of Fed, state, & local elections laws & protocols -- chain of custody, ballot access, voter registration security. This info is spread out, and often so specific that it is only accessed by and decipherable to "elections buffs." The constituents most in need of secure elections, and most capable of forcing their representatives to amend current practices, are left without a large but decipherable body of information, as well as user-friendly tools to that assist them in their efforts at increasing elections security.
Rather than attempt to legislate costly top-down change (which VP Biden has opposed), create some type of framework into which volunteers (or elections officials) can dump/fill in data that visually illustrates the ballot chain of custody -- from Constitutional guarantee of their right to vote, to ballot printing, to vote counting procedure and machine software security, to recount procedures, final storage and eventual disposal.
An interactive time line-like illustration of the chain of custody would be ideal. Users can consult elections law to "fill out" the chain, with discussion forum threads accompany each step. Users can discuss/debate the best options and rate the vulnerability of their vote at that stage in the elections process -- a color-grade scale (yellow to red, to illustrate areas of greatest need and concern.) Threads will be cross-referenced to similar topics/issues in other localities, so that, for instance, Palm Beach County Florida users can investigate and discuss the cheapest and most secure non re-sealable adhesive ballot seals, with Orange County California users faced with the same problem. The tool can similarly be utilized by municipalities to assist each other -- once an open debate and investigation has identified the most secure and cost efficient option, Palm Beach and Orange County might combine their purchases to reduce costs.
The tool can become a great classroom civics project for students, where the class will dedicate itself to learning the necessity and means of maintaining secure elections, while getting hands-on experience working with their local government as pro-active civic participants (even if it does entail something as simple as researching adhesive stickers.) Students will learn to investigate a problem, find a solution, and how to present it to an elected official so that its value is undeniable, and their efforts deliver real world results.
This online tool would be best served by hosting it at the Sunlight Foundation's OpenCongress website, which already has an audience of involved citizens. Because the website is heavily user-driven, once the coding is written, the website/tool and the community using it, will largely take care of itself -- this is a very small investment with a very large return.
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