As Georgia’s secretary of state, I have worked tirelessly to ensure our state’s elections are secure, accessible and fair.
For years, we have run our elections with little interest from the press. But during last year’s presidential election, everything changed with the news media’s obsession with Russian meddling.
Now, we are bombarded with questions about election security from reporters on tight deadlines. Their questions often reflect a complete misunderstanding of voting systems and what safeguards are in place to keep them secure.
As reporters chase stories to feed the 24-hour news cycle, they dilute facts and develop false narratives about Russian hacking and potential vulnerabilities in the system. The prevailing plot line is that states like Georgia can’t provide suitable security for elections.
Many news media elite think federal oversight is the answer. Republican and Democratic secretaries of state disagree. A “critical infrastructure” designation is simply a big government power grab.
Informed, non-partisan experts agree that manipulating a presidential election makes a good TV storyline but lacks real-world standing. State voting systems are diverse, highly scrutinized and not connected to the Internet. Web-based attacks on voter registration do not affect the vote count. The thing that matters most — your vote — is secure.
Misinformation from the media or disgruntled partisans not only fuels conspiracy theorists but also erodes the first safeguard we have in our elections — the public’s trust. Failing to respect this process with accurate reporting is a disservice to the American people.
To be candid, the most plausible and potentially effective attack on our elections is not by hacking the vote — it is through the manipulation of the American media machine. With “breaking news” that generates voter confusion, these baseless attacks and inaccurate stories enhance voter apathy and erode our confidence in the cornerstone of our democracy. That’s the real story.
Are states doing enough to keep our elections secure? Yes.
Anything to the contrary is fake news.