*The technological deficiencies that are extant in our nation within many of our 10,000 voting jurisdictions and the recommendations to mitigate or eliminate those vulnerabilities that are presented in this proposal first appeared in an Op-Ed in the August 4th edition of the Washington Post. The author of that perspective that is entitled “Silicon Valley Can Help Rescue Election Security” is Charles Jennings
As the summer of 2019 lengthens in these the days of continued leisure and recreation for millions of Americans, the specter of a national catastrophe looms ever larger and proximate.
In a scant 14 months our republic will be asked to select an individual to lead us into the third decade of the 21st century, and to designate our preferences for innumerable other subordinate officials at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
Throughout our history though we are an imperfect and flawed undertaking in representative democracy, until very recently we as a populace were of the unimpeachable perspective that our most fundamental and perhaps sacred right, i.e. the exercise of our individual franchise during the election process would be duly recorded and thus reflect an inviolate political reality, that those who were entrusted with the power to govern were subject to the collective will of our electorate and that this principle was preeminent and could not be abrogated.
However, as the result of a series of disclosures and the dissemination of information which was the collective product of our intelligence agencies and other sources of data, we have been apprised of the systematic and continuing attempts by foreign governments and their intelligence apparatuses to wage an unrelenting campaign of cyberwarfare with the ultimate objective in the looming electoral cycle of a massive disruption in this process, that if successful shall impair beyond its subsequent restoration the public’s confidence in the results.
Should that eventuality transpire that event will sound the death knell or our experiment in democratic government that has prevailed for more than two centuries, and the subsequent chaos and dissolution of our society that it will stimulate may produce an authoritarian or fascistic political system and thus consign us to a dark and oppressive future from which the resurrection of our democracy will be impossible.
Since the activities of various governments (principally Russian initiatives) have been revealed regarding the 2016 presidential election, we have frequently heard from numerous sources within the political realm , pundits, think tanks, and other entities, that have sounded the alarm and called us to action in order to interrupt these continuing exertions and preserve the sanctity of the impending 2020 electoral cycle.
However, as of this date legislation that might address various facets of these prescribed antidotes languishes in Congress, while others in positions of power either minimize or deny the existence of these perilous threats.
It is imperative that we acknowledge the following horrific reality; at this moment the vast majority of the approximately 10,000 voting jurisdictions currently employ Windows 7 software. In January, 2020 Microsoft will cease the provision of automatic security improvements for these antiquated operating systems. In the absence of these upgrades these systems are extraordinarily vulnerable primarily because the voting machine certification standards for these machines were formulated in 2005. Thus, the ancient and wholly deficient defenses these systems can mount will be overwhelmed by today’s cyberwarfare arsenal replete with polymorphic malware, weaponized artificial intelligence, and ransomware.
Though local governments are attempting to bolster their defensive capabilities they have neither the resources nor expertise to protect the integrity of the process by which vote tallies are computed, and more importantly to ensure that these compilations have not been tampered with or altered.
Nothing less than the survival of our noble experiment in republican democracy is at risk. Thus from my perspective given the critical necessity of this task, i.e. ensuring the unerring accuracy and unadulterated status of the ballots that tens of millions of Americans shall cast in approximately14 months, and as importantly the contemporary nonexistence of any entity that has been created that reflects a sufficiently broad or sustained commitment to this mission, I am on this date the 8th of August 2019 establishing the Center For The Preservation of American Democracy.
The mission this organization shall discharge is to mobilize the entirety of those resources technological, legal, political, as well as the support of those corporate and voluntary elements of our citizenry to support and in fact to demand that the total spectrum of these recommendations be fully implemented in every voting jurisdiction throughout the nation. It is only through this sequence of deployment that all citizens will be confident that whatever the results the various electoral outcomes produce in 2020 they reflect the pristine preferences of our citizenry.
As our initial act it is our intent to recruit as members of the Advisory Board of this center those individuals whose integrity, professional histories of accomplishment, and scrupulously nonpartisan sympathies and predispositions that are exemplary. Moreover, they shall reflect various portfolios of expertise and lengthy involvements with the relevant sectors of our endeavor, i.e. technological, legal, political, communications and public relations etc., those areas of competence that reside at the heart of our agenda of prospective exertions.
When this board is assembled its first task shall be to formulate the strategic paradigm required to achieve our principal objective and the chronology and content of the activity to ensure the success of its deployment prior to the electoral event of November, 2020.
At the epicenter of this document will such primary technological components/consulting expertise be delineated that reflect among other elements the provision to state and local election system operators of a complimentary upgrade by Microsoft of their Windows 10 software; the construction by Elon Musk or other equally brilliant visionaries at the forefront of computer science and their subsequent provision at no cost, of the requisite artificial intelligence defense systems to the IT staffs of local election jurisdictions; to offer at no charge the security consulting services which such entities at IBM, Oracle, and Cisco are superbly equipped to furnish; the gratuitous gift of online cyber services, which FireEye, Sentinel One, and Symantec are eminently qualified to provide; and finally Intel and other microchip manufacturers must supply to all voting jurisdictions throughout the nation their “state of the art” processors which are equipped with “hardware enhanced” security capabilities.
In addition to this element of our strategic paradigm are the equally crucial capacities and activities to ensure that the technological aspects of our model are fully deployed in every voting jurisdiction, are those systematic and unremitting efforts by the Center in the realm of a communications/public education activity to generate the requisite public advocacy among our populace to demand the implementation of our paradigm.
An equally vital facet of our operational agenda will be the unceasing coordination and collaboration with the appropriate officials within these state and local systems as we proceed in this process of systemic improvement and transformation; the ability to initiate those legal initiatives when required to both defend against any challenges to our initiative and to judicially neutralize any attempts by these jurisdictions to thwart or reject the requisite safeguards we are recommending ( or equivalent systemic improvements ) to the integrity of the electoral process which our paradigm presupposes.
The final item our strategic plan will include is the unrelenting interaction and collaboration with all other entities in our society including agencies of the federal intelligence establishment, nonprofit organizations that are addressing various dimensions of this challenge to the integrity of our electoral process, and other corporate entities, think tanks, and universities whose scholastic inquiries and responses are focusing on this imperative topic, to augment and intensify the efficacy of our initiative, to ensure that the most crucial capacity of all our citizens to select those officials at all levels of our governing apparatus via the exercise of their personal franchise remains sacrosanct and unimpeded.
It is our hope that the requisite financial resources to activate the center and its agenda shall be secured by Labor Day. Discussions have already commenced with the prospective staff members who will discharge various facets of the agenda we have formulated. The specific chronology of the duties and responsibilities to accomplish the goals and objectives will be fully explicated, and we shall immediately commence our efforts to preserve American democracy.
We recognize the urgency and vital importance of this task and we shall not fail in this endeavor
The Center For The Preservation of American Democracy
(An Operating Budget For This Fourteen Month Period)
This budget is most preliminary and without question lacks the requisite specificity relative to such categories as personnel, leased space costs, consumable supplies expenditures, systems of technology and communications costs, anticipated travel expenses, and an operational contingency category that are customarily included in these proposals. An infinitely more complete budget will be prepared at the inception of our operations, however, given the urgency of our undertaking suffice it to state that we are requesting from predisposed donors a request to enable our activities from September, 2019 – November 2020, of $500,000.