As voting in 2018’s midterms ends on Tuesday, November 6, there will be contests with surprising results, races separated by the slimmest of margins, or even ties. How will voters know what to believe without falling prey to partisan angst and conspiracies?
What if, as Dean Logan, Los Angeles County’s voting chief, retweeted this week, “the weakest link in election security is confidence” in the reported results?
The factual answers lie in the voting system technology used and the transparency—or its lack—in the vote counting, count auditing and recount process. These steps all fall before outcomes are certified and the election is legally over.
Seen nationally, the U.S. in 2018 is mostly voting on paper ballots that are counted by electronic scanners. That creates a spectrum of possible evidence that can be closely examined in 36 states—from individual ballots themselves, to digital images of the ballots, to spreadsheets of every vote, and more.