Our work for safe, secure, and transparent elections
The 2020 election was the most secure in American history. But greater resources and better processes are needed to strengthen elections in the years ahead. Issue One has a bold 2021 agenda to help states improve the administration and security of their elections.
Our plan would:
- Reform the Electoral Count Act to clarify Congress’ role and dissuade members of Congress in both parties from attempting to consider rogue slates of electors.
- Establish regular funding to states and local election officials.
- Strengthen the Election Assistance Commission to improve election infrastructure and incentivize best practices, including for processing mail-in ballots earlier, automatic voter registration, and establishing new transparency measures.
Issue One has been involved in election reform efforts since its 2019 “Don’t Mess with Us” campaign, securing $425 million to help deter foreign interference in December 2019. Anticipating many of the problems that would come to affect the 2020 primaries and the November elections, Issue One continued to push Congress for more money for states to hold safe and secure elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act stimulus that was passed into law included $400 million for these measures, an important downpayment to support our election systems.
In October 2020, Issue One and its bipartisan National Council on Election Integrity (NCEI) project — more than 40 government, political, and civic leaders — launched the “Count Every Vote” campaign, a $15 million public effort to defend the legitimacy of our elections, call for patience from the American electorate while every vote is counted, and advocate for state and local election officials to have more support to hold safe and secure pandemic elections.
On top of the challenges caused by the pandemic, the council worked to consistently and forcefully push back against the narrative pushed by President Trump and his supporters of widespread election fraud via mail-in ballots that sowed serious doubt in the validity and security of our sacred democratic process. Both before and after election day, the council amplified a message that worked to ensure a peaceful transfer of power and speaking out against efforts to diminish faith in our system — receiving signification media attention, with more than 200 media mentions, in addition to running four TV ads.
Former Attorney General William Barr found no evidence of fraud affecting the outcome. State and local election officials and volunteers did a great job safeguarding and ensuring our elections were fair and accurate. But no election is perfect. There are lessons to be learned and improvements to be made, such as states taking more time prior to election day to process ballots so they can be counted in a timely fashion. We must create national standards and best practices. And, we must give the federal Election Assistance Commission more resources to assist local election officials. Future elections should not rely on private philanthropy, as the 2020 elections did, to be safe and secure.