ATR joins bipartisan coalition urging states to responsibly spend federal election security money


Washington, D.C. —August 17, 2020– The National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC), Americans for Tax Reform, Public Citizen and Business for America have sent letters calling for immediate investment in cybersecurity, voter-verified paper ballots, and COVID-19 safety and security measures in ten states with vulnerable voting systems. The bipartisan coalition believes that the problems that manifested in many of the nation’s primaries offer a dire warning of what could happen during November’s election. 

The National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC) organized the letter campaign to advocate measures to fund safe in-person voting options to prevent both infection and chaos on Election Day. We call on the states to print a sufficient amount of emergency backup paper ballots, in case voting machines break down or are hacked. Each coalition letter calls on leaders to ensure that their state’s voting and tabulation systems are disconnected from the Internet to protect voters and the state from hacking and foreign interference. 

Three key swing states which the conservative and progressive groups have alerted (Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin) all have voting systems that are still connected to the Internet, which poses an election security risk. Coalition letters raising an alarm about election security have also been delivered to state election officials in Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio

Immediate actions outlined in the coalition’s letters demonstrate several low-cost steps each state must take to secure the voting process before the 2020 general election. 

  • Ban all voting technologies that are connected to the Internet or disconnect their modems immediately and scan systems for viruses.
  • Place sufficient emergency back-up ballots for all voters in case electronic voting machines break down, or for those who don’t wish to vote on touch screen voting machines.
  • Print hard copy back-up of electronic poll books in all precincts.
  • Disinfect or limit the use of touchscreen machines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • Ensure that voting machines produce human-readable, voter-verified paper ballots, not ballots that are not publicly auditable because they carry information on QR or bar codes.
  • Conduct post-election, risk-limiting audits of paper ballots.
  • Implement 24/7 video monitoring of all ballot tabulation processing areas.

An NEDC-NBC investigation reported that nationwide there were 14,000 modems installed in voting tabulation systems in a large number of counties across the nation and that some voting technology was manufactured in China. 

“Our elections should be ironclad, and we benefit from using paper ballots and being able to double-check the results,” said Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform. “The steps outlined in this letter will help states shore up elections in 2020 and beyond.”

“Both Republican and Democrats want to vote safely, and they want to know that their votes are counted as cast,” said Sen. Ben Ptashnik, president of the National Election Defense Coalition. “Lack of preparedness only serves to disenfranchise voters of both parties. They should not have to worry about infection from the COVID-19 virus, or from a hacker spreading a malicious computer virus that steals their votes.” 

About the National Election Defense Coalition:

Founded in 2013, NEDC is an election security non-profit 501c3 based in California. It’s mission is to build a bipartisan movement to secure the nation’s vulnerable voting systems from manipulation and fraud. NEDC allies include civil rights advocates, libertarians and liberals, national security conservatives.

The organization brings together experts in technology and cybersecurity, policymakers and elections officials, to build consensus on a comprehensive, cost-effective plan to protect the vote in the coming 2020 elections and beyond. Its President, Ben Ptashnik, is a former State Senator who served on the Government Operations Committee where he specialized in elections and passed Vermont’s landmark money-in-politics Clean Elections Act. For more information, please visit


Contact: [email protected]

At Americans for Tax Reform Contact Tom Hebert; [email protected]