Federal, state and local election officials are working to make America trust our elections now and in 2024. Voters can expect to hear a lot about this effort in the coming months, as they try to debunk election lies and misinformation.
“Just as much as I need to prove to the public what we do and how we do it — don’t take your source at face value,” Duval County Supervisor of Elections, Jerry Holland, said. “Don’t just say, ‘Well, I heard it on the internet.’”
Holland is referencing one of the many conversations he’s had with local voters, who’ve expressed their concern about the integrity of their vote, questioning whether voter fraud is at play.
“There’s a lot of myths out there. There’s a lot of people saying elections were stolen without proof or showing things,” Holland said.
Holland said the number one allegation he hears from the public is that electronic voting machines aren’t secure because some have been connected to the internet. It’s something he and election officials across the country say is far from the truth.
“It starts with transparency. When you go and test the equipment — when the public can actually come and watch you test the equipment and prove that it’s working. And then also, zero in and out securing the equipment.”
Holland previously spent eight years as supervisor of elections, then spent eight years as property appraiser.
He says he returned to the elections office in July and since then, he’s been engaging with the public on the subject of election integrity at least twice a week, attending both in person and online meetings, and offering tours of the elections facilities.
The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission and the Centers for Election Innovation and Research are also doing the same thing, answering questions about mail-in ballots, voter registration and drop boxes.
Elections officials say unproven claims of fraud can have steep financial consequences pointing to lawsuits filed by voting machine companies, Smartmatic and Dominion. Fox News reached a nearly $800 million settlement with Dominion for calling their machines accuracy into question. Smartmatic voting technology is suing the network for $2.7 billion for defamation.
“They’re going to defend their position. They’re going to show exactly how the equipment works. And when you just make those careless claims, you’d better have proof. You better be able to show how it’s done, not just say it can be done. It has to be shown with proof,” Holland said.
The Florida Department of State is also making election integrity a top priority. On their website, they lay out the entire process from pre-election audits to post election audits. In 2002, the Florida Department of State received 262 election fraud complaints and over 75 were reported to law enforcement in a state where more than 11 million people cast their votes.