University of Michigan

State officials confident in election security despite voter concerns

20-Oct-2020 10:00 AM EDT, by University of Michigan


Election Day is two weeks away and confidence in election security is still wavering among voters. State election officials and clerks are confident in the process, as absentee ballots have been mailed in record numbers nationwide. 

Walter Mebane is a University of Michigan political science professor specializing in election forensics, which develops statistical and computational tools for determining whether election results are accurate. He is also a member of the Election Verification Network, a group of election-related professionals concerned with the integrity and improvement of U.S. voting systems.

Why should voters feel confident in election security?

In terms of what people should be concerned about and whether they should have confidence in the elections, there is no reason to have a doubt about the security of the voting process per se, with some caveats. And many of the caveats have already been taken care of by people voting early. One issue is very long lines at the polling places.  In-person voting will mitigate all of the concerns people have had about the post office and mailing ballots. 

The process of getting votes counted is a complex question but people don't have to worry, by and large, about the votes being accurately counted. In terms of misinformation, people have to be vigilant on their own. Seek out reliable, diverse news sources before you react to some claim that may or may not be true, which may affect your decision. 

The president has repeatedly made false claims about possible voter fraud despite contrary comments by U.S. intelligence officials and election experts. Should Republicans tell Trump that his statements about election security are fueling voter doubt and anxiety?

Certainly the rhetoric from Trump is totally overblown and not based on any facts that anyone has talked about or revealed publicly. Whether it's the Republican Party's responsibility to stand up to their presidential candidate, well that's not going to happen. I think it's a responsibility of every person active in American politics to stand up for the integrity of the elections system ... and hopefully to argue based on facts about what will happen rather than based on campaign strategies. 

You studied Bush v. Gore in 2000—a case that the U.S. Supreme Court decided a recount dispute in Florida's presidential election. What lessons can be learned that could impact this election? 

The issue is will the election results, if contested, be decided in the courts, especially by the Supreme Court. It's not going to be a rerun of 2000 because it's not Florida. Legal challenges are happening all around the country. 

Thousands of Republican lawyers—meaning lawyers hired by the Republican Party or by the Trump campaign—are suing jurisdictions for this, that and the other thing. And Democratic lawyers—meaning those hired by the Democratic Party or the Biden campaign—are mostly countersuing or defending against the Republican lawyers. Who knows what kind of case will go through what courts because they will have to go to state courts first and maybe they get appealed to the federal government like what happened in 2000.

Bush v. Gore is technically not a precedent for the court. Once we go down that road—a partisan court defending a partisan president—it's a nightmare beyond imagination. One hopes it doesn't go there, and that there is an outcome that's clear and early enough without Trump contesting the results as he's indicated if he loses the election.   

Why don't more counties nationwide replace outdated, vulnerable paperless voting machines? 

In some places, there is political resistance to replacing vulnerable machines with better technology. Georgia is a case of that, where state officials clearly had the money to buy a new set of machines but chose to buy vulnerable machines after they lost a court case. In other places, it's a matter of money in which residents did not vote to tax themselves enough to raise the money to buy a better election system. 

What is your assessment about Michigan's efforts to have a well-run election? 

Michigan has been very active in hardening its defenses against cyberattacks, in its hardware, software and operational level. Everything from the voter registration system to the awareness of the expansion of absentee ballots to the way they do early voting—all of that has been front of mind among the state's elections officials. Michigan is very high among the states that are well-prepared for this upcoming election. 

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4146
Newswise: Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health
Released: 25-Nov-2020 2:15 PM EST
Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19: Your Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped more than half a year of our lives, canceling plans, upending livelihoods and causing feelings of grief, stress and anxiety. And Cedars-Sinai mental health experts say the pandemic could be shaping our mental health well into the future.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 12:45 PM EST
SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility
University College London

None of the mutations currently documented in the SARS-CoV-2 virus appear to increase its transmissibility in humans, according to a study led by UCL researchers.

Newswise: COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested preclinically at UAB nears first clinical test in people
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Maryland-based Altimmune Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, has submitted an Investigational New Drug, or IND, application to the United States Food and Drug Administration to commence a Phase 1 clinical study of its single-dose intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
BIDMC researchers reveal how genetic variations are linked to COVID-19 disease severity
Beth Israel Lahey Health

New research BIDMC-led sheds light on the genetic risk factors that make individuals more or less susceptible to severe COVID-19.

Newswise: blog-pandemic-scenario-planning-lg-feature2.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 11:05 AM EST
Pandemic Ups Game on Scenario Planning in The Arts
Wallace Foundation

Researcher/Author of new toolkit and report seeks to help arts and culture organizations add scenario planning to their strategic toolbox

Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:30 AM EST
Young people's anxiety levels doubled during first COVID-19 lockdown, says study
University of Bristol

The number of young people with anxiety doubled from 13 per cent to 24 per cent, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown 1, according to new research from the University of Bristol.

Newswise: 249837_web.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 10:20 AM EST
Tracking COVID-19 trends in hard-hit states
Louisiana State University

Currently, there are over 10 million confirmed cases and more than 240,000 casualties attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S.

Released: 25-Nov-2020 9:55 AM EST
More Health Systems Join National #MaskUp Campaign
Cleveland Clinic

Many more health systems are joining the national #MaskUp campaign encouraging Americans to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following safety guidelines. Over just a few days, another 19 health systems with hundreds of hospitals united with 100 health systems nationwide with hospitals numbering in the thousands. The public service campaign is critical to the health and well-being of all Americans. It is a plea from healthcare professionals everywhere: wear a mask and follow other precautions to save lives and help get our country back on its feet.

Newswise: delaterre_jpeg.jpg
Released: 25-Nov-2020 7:35 AM EST
Warwick scientists design model to predict cellular drug targets against Covid-19
University of Warwick

The covid-19 virus, like all viruses relies on their host for reproduction

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 30-Nov-2020 10:00 AM EST Released to reporters: 24-Nov-2020 5:35 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 30-Nov-2020 10:00 AM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Showing results

110 of 4146