Date of Event: Wednesday, August 25th 2021
Time of Event: 10:15 AM — 4:30 PM
Place of Event: Webinar
Having a strong democratic system that voters can believe in is integral to the protection of all other rights in America. However, we are currently facing a crisis of confidence in our elections with many threats to our faith in the system present. First and perhaps most disturbing is that many voters believe that our system is rife with fraud with about a third of voters believing that President Biden won because of electoral fraud. Although you are more likely to get struck by lightning than commit voter fraud, there are real security risks that must be addressed. According to a 2020 report conducted by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Russian and Iranian hacking campaigns actually did compromise some of the networks that managed some of our elections and several organizations, candidates and campaigns. Computers and software are present in nearly every component of the democratic process which means so are the vulnerabilities. While this didn’t affect the outcome of our national elections, local and state infrastructure have significantly less resources to defend themselves from interference.
Aside from outside interference, ensuring that every voter exercises their right is fraught with its own challenges. Most people have to register before they can vote however this process has often left America’s underprivileged out. Voter ID laws also severely impact people of color and lower income Americans who have difficulty accessing government ID and those who register voters often have to undergo rigorous and expensive training. Even when people do successfully register to vote many of these people are disproportionately impacted by voter purges that remove people from voter rolls. While vote by mail (VBM) has been invaluable to running elections during this pandemic, access to VBM isn’t equal. From difficulties accessing VBM ballots, to burdensome requirements that make casting VBM ballots impractical or impossible, to higher rates of rejection of completed VBM ballots, at each stage of the vote-by-mail process, many underprivileged communities are excluded from the process.Voters are sometimes misinformed about the process and their own rights making it difficult to vote in every part of the process. Although the Biden administration and congress have made legislative efforts to strengthen voting rights, change has been elusive and it is up to state and local policy makers to take this matter into their own hands.
This timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for election officials, advocates, cybersecurity professionals, and other key stakeholders to reflect on progress made, identify challenges and consider next steps in securing the right to vote for everyone. Cross-sector exchange will help facilitate better partnerships between civil society, the private sector and government actors. It will allow delegates to consider solutions to identified barriers and challenges related to policy implementation. Participants will be able to transfer key learnings and best practices to their own communities whether at the local, state or national level.
Share strategies to adapt election procedures in lieu of the pandemic
Explore ways to keep voters well informed of their rights and the election process
Deliberate methods to improve cybersecurity protocol among local, state, and federal election officials
Discuss how to make the voter registrations process more accessible and safe
Consider ways to make Vote by Mail (VBM) procedures more robust and equitable
Discuss how different sectors could collaborate to improve the voting process
Identify potential public-private partnerships between local and state officials and cybersecurity professionals
Develop plans to tackle misinformation and other voter suppression efforts
|9:30||Chair's Welcome and Introduction|
Speaker Presentations and Q&A
|Open Floor Discussion and Debate|
|13:00||Chair's Summary and Closing Comments|
|13:10||Close **All Times as Presented are in the Pacific Time Zone**
Voting Rights Advocates
State and Local Election Officials
Election Assistance Commission Officials
Department of Justice Officials
Secretary Of State Elections Division Officials
Supervisor or Chief Poll Workers
City and County Elections Commissioners
County Clerk Recorders
Voter Registration Non-Profits
Department of Motor Vehicles Administrators
State and Local Ethics Commission Officials
Board of Elections Officials
Lawyers and Attorneys
Academics and Researchers
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