Non-profit

Verified Voting

Location:

CARLSBAD, CA

Tax ID:

20-0665713

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $7,989
Expenses: $37,974
Assets: $8,556

Formation:

2004

Chair:

Barbara Simons

Verified Voting is a left-of-center nonprofit organization that advocates against the use of electronic voting machines, instead championing the use of verified paper ballots to allegedly promote election security. [1] During the 2020 presidential election, Verified Voting participated in recount efforts in Georgia. [2]

Despite claiming to be nonpartisan, Verified Voting has an extensive history of working with left-of-center organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Brennan Center for Justice, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, Public Citizen, and Common Cause. [3] Verified Voting board chair Barbara Simons also sits on the board of the Democracy Alliance, a powerful left-of-center donor collective. [4] Verified Voting has accepted grants from the left-of-center MacArthur and Threshold Foundations. [5] [6]

In 2019, longtime Verified Voting board member Philip Stark resigned in protest. Stark accused Verified Voting of misrepresenting the science behind risk-limiting audits (RLAs), which the organization promoted as a solution to election security. Stark’s resignation letter accused Verified Voting of promoting a “false and misleading impression” of RLAs and questioned the integrity of the organization. After Stark’s departure, board member Richard DeMillo left the Verified Voting advisory board as well. [7]

Activity

Founded in 2004 by computer scientist David Dill, Verified Voting publishes research and provides resources to lawmakers on election security, in addition to coordinating voter registration efforts. The organization advocates for paper-backed voting systems, advises on post-election audits, campaigns against the implementation of internet voting, and publishes research on election security. [8]

Verified Voting promotes the use of verified paper ballots in elections, advocating against online and electronic voting. Advocates have held that online voting can assist in ballot accessibility, especially for disabled and overseas citizens. Verified Voting director Mark Lindeman claimed that electronic voting is unsafe and has argued that we have no clear path to improving its security. Critics, including those on the political left, have argued that Verified Voting’s insistence on paper ballots excludes a significant number of Americans who need more accessible options. [9]

Verified Voting has also supported the widespread implementation of risk-limiting audits (RLAs). The audits involve manually checking a random sample of voters’ ballots following an election in order to ensure than computers accurately counted the ballots. Verified Voting has supported the measure by claiming that computerized voting systems are ripe for technological and procedural problems. On its website, Verified Voting has provided tools for jurisdictions seeking to implement RLAs, including guides to audits and best practices. [10]

Verified Voting has used RLAs to call for the implementation of voting machines that guarantee a paper record of every vote, claiming that they are essential to ensuring election accuracy. [11] In addition to advocating in support of paper voting and election auditing, Verified Voting maintains a map of voting technologies used in each voting district in the United States and other resources providing information on election technology. [12]

2020 Election

During the 2020 election, Verified Voting participated in election auditing in the Georgia presidential election, providing both advice and ground support to local election authorities in the hand recount effort. [13] Verified Voting also assisted in risk-limiting audits in Maricopa County, Arizona and several other local jurisdictions. [14] Despite its focus on election security, Verified Voting dismissed all concerns regarding the widespread use of mail-in ballots during the 2020 election, claiming that election fraud using mail-in ballots is “exceedingly rare.” [15]

During the election cycle, Verified Voting partnered with a number of left-of-center organizations. Verified Voting worked with Common Cause and the Brennan Center for Justice to promote its electoral polices in “key swing states,” advocating for paper ballots, increased election funding, and post-election audits. [16] Verified Voting also joined the Voting Rights Task Force, an organization advocating for increased election oversight and mandated hand-marked paper ballots. Other VRTF members include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the left-wing Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights. [17]

Verified Voting also worked with the left-of-center Secure Our Vote Coalition on efforts to block electronic mail-in voting, block internet voting in Puerto Rico, and ban the use of wireless connectivity in voting. The Coalition is organized by left-of-center and left-wing organizations including Public Citizen, Common Cause, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. [18]

People and Funding

In 2018, Verified Voting reported $1,191,797 in revenue and $1,290,110 in expenses. [19] The organization also reported $126,221 in net assets. [20] While 2018. Verified Voting does not disclose its donors, it received $900,000 from the left-of-center MacArthur Foundation between 2012 and 2016. [21] In 2020, Verified Voting received a grant from the left-of-center Threshold Foundation. [22]

Mark Lindeman is the acting co-director of Verified Voting. Lindeman is a computer scientist who has taught several courses in quantitative methods in political science and a longtime advocate of RLAs. [23]

Barbara Simons is the chair of the board at Verified Voting. Simons was appointed to the United States Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors in 2008, where she continues to work. [24] [25]

Simons is also a left-of-center activist with strong ties to the Democratic Party. In 2016, after Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election, Simons led the Clinton campaign’s effort to implement an audit and recount in key battleground states amidst claims of potential election interference. In a call with Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Simons argued for a recount by claiming that voting machines were susceptible to malfunctions, miscounts, and interference. Even after the Clinton campaign rejected the calls for a recount, Simons created the coalition that led to former Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s filing a lawsuit to inspect Pennsylvania voting machines. [26] Simons also sits on the board of Democracy Alliance, a coalition of wealthy donors that supports left-of-center political causes and infrastructure organizing. [27]

Misinformation Controversy

Verified Voting has consistently promoted risk-limiting audits, which has resulted in internal disagreements and questions regarding the organization’s integrity. In November 2019, University of California, Berkeley statistics professor Philip Stark resigned from his seat on the Verified Voting board in protest after eleven years working with the organization. [28]

Stark accused Verified Voting of misrepresenting the science behind RLAs. Stark’s resignation letter claimed that Verified Voting’s defense of RLAs provided “cover for inherently untrustworthy voting systems” and created “the false and misleading impression that relying on untrustworthy paper for an RLA can confirm election outcomes.” [29]

Stark went on to accuse Verified Voting’s advocacy in favor of RLAs of ignoring the more serious issue of establishing that the paper trails themselves were trustworthy, instead “helping election officials who purchased poorly designed, unnecessarily expensive, insecure, universal-use” ballot-marking systems to justify their purchases, despite the lack of evidence in their security. [30]

After Stark’s departure, board member Richard DeMillo left the Verified Voting advisory board. Former Verified Voting board member Ion V. Sancho, who led Florida’s ballot recounts in the 2000 presidential election, questioned whether Verified Voting had “become part of the institutions that at one time, [Verified Voting] sought to reform.” [31]

References

  1. Vasilogambros, Matt, and Lindsey Van Ness. “Despite Security Concerns, Online Voting Advances.” The Pew Charitable Trusts, February 17, 2021. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2021/02/17/despite-security-concerns-online-voting-advances. ^
  2. “Annual Report 2020.” Verified Voting. Verified Voting, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Verified-Voting-Annual-Report-2020.pdf ^
  3. “Annual Report 2020.” Verified Voting. Verified Voting, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Verified-Voting-Annual-Report-2020.pdf ^
  4. “Barbara Simons.” Democracy Alliance, July 31, 2018. https://democracyalliance.org/people/barbara-simons/. ^
  5. “Verified Voting Foundation.” The MacArthur Foundation. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.macfound.org/grantee/verified-voting-foundation-44675/. ^
  6. “Fair Elections.” Threshold Foundation, March 8, 2021. https://www.thresholdfoundation.org/fair-elections/. ^
  7. Guy, Sandra. “Update on Efforts to Ensure Accurate, Verifiable Elections.” All Together. Society of Women Engineers, January 30, 2020. https://alltogether.swe.org/2020/01/update-on-efforts-to-ensure-accurate-verifiable-elections/. ^
  8. “Issues.” Verified Voting. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/issues/. ^
  9. Vasilogambros, Matt, and Lindsey Van Ness. “Despite Security Concerns, Online Voting Advances.” The Pew Charitable Trusts, February 17, 2021. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2021/02/17/despite-security-concerns-online-voting-advances. ^
  10. “Audits.” Verified Voting. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/audits/. ^
  11. Karlin, Sam. “Amid Election Fears, Louisiana Is One of the Last States to Use Aging Machines in 2020.” The Advocate, February 8, 2020. https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/politics/elections/article_1c79fb70-492d-11ea-8175-9f79c1cc4d65.html. ^
  12. “Verifier.” Verified Voting. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/verifier/#mode/navigate/map/ppEquip/mapType/normal/year/2022. ^
  13. “Annual Report 2020.” Verified Voting. Verified Voting, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Verified-Voting-Annual-Report-2020.pdf ^
  14. Duda, Jeremy. “Maricopa County Vendor Dominion Voting Systems at Center of False Conspiracies.” Arizona Mirror, November 17, 2020. https://www.azmirror.com/2020/11/17/maricopa-county-vendor-dominion-voting-systems-at-center-of-false-conspiracies/. ^
  15. Newman, Lily Hay. “How We’ll Know the Election Wasn’t Rigged.” Wired. Conde Nast, September 15, 2020. https://www.wired.com/story/election-mass-voter-fraud-protections/. ^
  16. “Annual Report 2020.” Verified Voting. Verified Voting, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Verified-Voting-Annual-Report-2020.pdf ^
  17. “Annual Report 2020.” Verified Voting. Verified Voting, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Verified-Voting-Annual-Report-2020.pdf ^
  18. “Annual Report 2020.” Verified Voting. Verified Voting, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Verified-Voting-Annual-Report-2020.pdf ^
  19. “Verified Voting Foundation.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990. 2018. Part I, Lines 12 and 18. ^
  20. Verified Voting Foundation.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990. Part I, Line 22 ^
  21. “Verified Voting Foundation.” The MacArthur Foundation. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.macfound.org/grantee/verified-voting-foundation-44675/. ^
  22. “Fair Elections.” Threshold Foundation, March 8, 2021. https://www.thresholdfoundation.org/fair-elections/. ^
  23. “Who We Are.” Verified Voting. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://verifiedvoting.org/team/#mark. ^
  24. “Barbara Simons.” HuffPost. BuzzFeed Inc. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.huffpost.com/author/barbara-simons. ^
  25. “Barbara Simons.” U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Accessed March 18, 2021. https://www.eac.gov/about/staff-directory/barbara-simons. ^
  26. Friess, Steve. “Inside the Recount.” The New Republic, February 15, 2017. https://newrepublic.com/article/140254/inside-story-trump-clinton-stein-presidential-election-recount. ^
  27. “Barbara Simons.” Democracy Alliance, July 31, 2018. https://democracyalliance.org/people/barbara-simons/. ^
  28. Guy, Sandra. “Update on Efforts to Ensure Accurate, Verifiable Elections.” All Together. Society of Women Engineers, January 30, 2020. https://alltogether.swe.org/2020/01/update-on-efforts-to-ensure-accurate-verifiable-elections/. ^
  29. Guy, Sandra. “Update on Efforts to Ensure Accurate, Verifiable Elections.” All Together. Society of Women Engineers, January 30, 2020. https://alltogether.swe.org/2020/01/update-on-efforts-to-ensure-accurate-verifiable-elections/. ^
  30. Guy, Sandra. “Update on Efforts to Ensure Accurate, Verifiable Elections.” All Together. Society of Women Engineers, January 30, 2020. https://alltogether.swe.org/2020/01/update-on-efforts-to-ensure-accurate-verifiable-elections/. ^
  31. Guy, Sandra. “Update on Efforts to Ensure Accurate, Verifiable Elections.” All Together. Society of Women Engineers, January 30, 2020. https://alltogether.swe.org/2020/01/update-on-efforts-to-ensure-accurate-verifiable-elections/. ^

Donation Recipients

  1. Rock the Vote (Non-profit)
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2005

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990EZ $7,989 $37,974 $8,556 $46,413 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Jun Form 990 $93,071 $59,256 $50,543 $9,359 N $93,071 $0 $0 $7,875 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $93,550 $105,380 $7,369 $0 N $93,481 $0 $69 $7,000 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $24,565 $184,932 $30,032 $11,038 N $23,880 $0 $685 $16,384 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $259,889 $97,747 $181,361 $2,000 N $259,808 $0 $81 $24,500 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990EZ $8,953 $13,278 $17,219 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Verified Voting

    PO BOX 4104
    CARLSBAD, CA 92018-4104