Tips to Mitigate Threats to Our Votes and Voter Registrations Before November

By Jennifer Cohn, @JennyCohn1 8/3/2020

  1. If you decide to vote by mail, apply ASAP and, if allowed in your county (check), return your ballot in person at a drop box or office, not via the Post Office, which is suffering delays due to the pandemic and Trump’s effort to destroy it. Sign the envelope & follow the instructions exactly.

2. If you vote in person, bring your ID and your completed sample ballot, which will speed up voting no matter what type of in-person voting system you use.

3. If you vote in person, request to vote with a ball point pen, ie, a #HandMarkedPaperBallot (HMPB) rather than a touchscreen, as most experts agree that HMPBs are more reliable and secure. Moreover, many new touchscreen systems (ballot marking devices) put voters’ selections into barcodes, which humans can’t read, although there typically is small human readable text beneath the barcode that can be used in a manual audit or recount if state law allows. (Voters w/ disabilities who are unable to hand mark are an exception to this “avoid touchscreens” advice and should have access to well maintained ballot marking devices.)

4. If you must use a touchscreen, compare the human readable text on the paper printout (if any) to your completed sample ballot to ensure the machine didn’t drop or flip your votes as reflected in the text. Very few voters will notice such dropping or flipping — especially as to down ballot races — without doing this comparison.

5. Down ballot races, especially state races, are critical this year bc state lawmakers will vote in 2021 on the new maps that will impact control of the US House of Representatives for a decade. I discussed this w/ @DavidPepper, chair of @OHDems, recently.


6. State races are also key to the GOP’s long-standing desire to convene an Article V Convention of States to re-write the US Constitution. Don’t let it happen. Vote your full ballot & confirm those races aren’t missing or flipped on the printout.

7. Confirm your voter registration several times between now and the election. Save a screenshot of the registration confirmation as proof.

8. If you have questions or encounter problems voting, contact the Voter Protection Hotline, which is run by @LawyersComm.

9. Problems should also be reported to poll workers (if the problem occurs during in person voting) and to local media and on social media. Feel free to tag me, and I will help amplify any such problems you may encounter.

10. Volunteer as a poll worker. We will need reliable in person voting to handle the hundreds of thousands (or millions) of voters who don’t receive their mail ballots on time & 4 those who prefer in person voting. Rs would love to close polling locations due to a worker shortage.

11. We also need poll observers to help prevent and report voter intimidation and other problems at the polls and to ensure everything is running as it should. We also need observers for the counting of absentee ballots. Trump reportedly plans to deploy 50,000 monitors. We will need more.

12. You can volunteer as a poll worker or watcher through your state or county political party. We need both workers and watchers. Please sign up if you can!

13. We need poll workers, and poll workers need face shields (in addition to the masks they probably already have). Let’s make sure they have them!

14.Voters & election-integrity groups should also contact county election officials & demand backup #PaperPollBooks for in person voting on Election Day because electronic pollbooks often connect to WiFi or blue tooth & are prone to failure & hacking.

15. And yes, voters and voter-protection groups should also demand that county election officials give all in person voters the option to vote with #HandMarkedPaperBallots, as opposed to machine-marked (hackable) printouts from touchscreen voting machines.

16. Election officials in some (I suspect many) jurisdictions are using WiFi or Bluetooth connected (hackable) e-pollbooks to encode the activation cards that activate hackable touchscreen voting machines. It is a recipe for disaster. Demand backup paper everything.

17. BTW, if polling places are consolidated so that voters can vote at any county center, it will be impossible to have backup paper poll books for the hackable electronic poll books. Attend county election board meetings & oppose this type of vote center. Hard. This is what a voters-can-vote-anywhere-in-the-county Vote Center looks like when electronic poll books fail. We cannot afford this risk. (Photo from LA County 2020 primary.)

18. Did you know that the swing states of Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin installed cellular modems, which connect to the internet, in their precinct ballot scanners? Voters and voter protection groups should demand that they remove the effing modems. These modems are unnecessary and unacceptable and open our systems to internet hackers.

19. Did you know that election officials in Florida are also deleting/destroying digital ballot images, which the precinct scanners create automatically and use to tabulate votes? Please consider supporting Audit USA’s lawsuit to stop the destruction of these ballot images. I believe they plan to focus on Michigan as well.


20. Please also consider volunteering with to photograph precinct totals (as shown on precinct poll tapes posted outside many polling places when the polls close) and compare them to the county reported totals for those precincts. If the two don’t match, this suggests that a potentially serious problem occurred with the tabulation and may support an election challenge.

Link to Volunteer:

21. Screenshot results as they come in on Election Night. Watch & record results on the Secretary of State or County websites throughout the night. “Take screenshots [about every 5 minutes], save them as you go, and include a timestamp in the filename when you do. Those web results also have a way of changing, sometimes in the wrong direction, throughout the night. Your evidence could help save an election.” via

If vote totals go down (which should never happen) and you catch this on your screen shots, this is an anomaly that can provide the basis for an election challenge. Please let me (@jennycohn1) know if you notice something like this and I will help you get the information to the right people.

22. Demand transparency (investigation, manual recount or manual audit) about unexpected election losses. Do not let your candidates play dead if they lose unexpectedly!

23. For more information about election-system vulnerabilities, please see my Twitter account at @jennycohn1. You can also find most of my published articles and interviews — as well as videos, articles, and books from other sources that I recommend — in the Library at

24. Thank you to the many amazing graphic artists who made the art featured in this article. I will attempt to name them all soon!

Attorney and Election Integrity Advocate #ProtectOurVotes #PaperBallotsNow @jennycohn1