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This Week’s UU Service Topic: Protecting the 2020 US Elections

Ben Ptashnik Atencion

By Jon Sievert

At this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service (UUFSMA), Ben Ptashnik, cofounder and executive director of the National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC), discusses how the NEDC is trying to protect US elections integrity in 2020.

The right to vote is the cornerstone of the democratic republic. It profoundly affects every issue concerning Americans. Yet, that right is useless if votes are not properly counted or are lost, stolen, hacked, or manipulated. The NEDC is dedicated to replacing all insecure electronic voting machines with paper ballots before the 2020 elections.

Current US computerized voting systems’ shocking vulnerability to error and undetectable fraud fundamentally threatens the nation’s security.

NEDC, which recently convinced Congress to allocate $US380 million to cybersecurity in all 50 states, is the only organization building an effective bipartisan movement for integrity and transparency in US elections.

Despite the government’s increased focus on security, American elections are still a soft target. Intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security recently confirmed that in 2016, foreign adversaries cyber-attacked every US state’s election networks. When leading computer security experts studied a range of US electronic voting infrastructure—including touchscreen machines, optical scanners, and registration database systems—they found serious vulnerabilities. A survey of about 300 election officials in 28 states discovered that the majority of state systems need security upgrades.

Ptashnik, a former Vermont state senator, social justice activist, environmentalist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist for five decades, lives with his partner, Victoria, at the Tikkun Eco Center, just north of San Miguel de Allende. As a senator, Ptashnik spearheaded and passed Vermont’s campaign-financing reforms, led the fight to pass Vermont’s landmark Civil Union Act for LGBT couples, and helped make Vermont an environmental leader. His current project, NEDC, leads a coalition of 15 NGOs and hundreds of bipartisan computer scientists and cyber experts dedicated to preserving US elections security. For more information, see www.electiondefense.org and www.usbase.net.

For more information about the UUFSMA, including our children’s religious education program, social action outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities, and Care Team, join us any Sunday at 10:30am at the Hotel La Aldea, or check out our website at uufsma.org.

 

UU Service

“Protecting the 2020 US Elections”

Ben Ptashnik

Sun, May 5, 10:30am

Hotel La Aldea

Ancha de San Antonio 15, Centro

Free

 

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