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Citizens for Better Elections (CBE)




Election Watchdog


Kevin Skoglund

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Citizens for Better Elections (CBE) is an election watchdog group which advocates for election administration changes, particularly the use of hand ballots, which it claims to have better voting security than newer electronic systems.

As of March 2023. CBE claims to have a network of 350 citizens consisting of poll workers, cyber security specialists, academics, and members of the League of Women Voters. 1


Citizens for Better Elections claims credit for numerous changes to voting rules in Pennsylvania and its localities. For instance, in February 2021, the state conducted a risk-limiting audit of the 2020 election; in October 2019, Delaware County upgraded its voting machines; and in November 2018, Pennsylvania settled a lawsuit with former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein to require counties to implement voting systems with voter-verifiable paper records. 2

In July 2019, CBE, Free Speech for People, and the National Election Defense Council (NEDC) filed a petition with 200 signatures to the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth asking for a reexamination of Election System and Software’s ExpressVote XL voting machine, which allegedly violated the state’s voting laws due to security failings. The CBE and NEDC unsuccessfully filed suits attempting to block the machine’s implementation across the state. 3

In August 2019, the CBE and University of Pittsburgh released a study on the costs and security of Pennsylvania voting machines, alleging that the proposed upgrades for the 2020 election would cost about twice as much as previous voting methods but with lower security. The analysis largely stemmed from CBE’s claim that hand-written ballots are more secure than electronic voting systems. 4

In May 2019, CBE president Kevin Skoglund cowrote an open letter condemning a new blockchain-based voting system created by Voatz. Criticism included the amount of voter data Voatz would need to collect for verification, concerns over blockchain privacy, and permitting a private company to access voter record rolls. 5

Voting Guides

CBE provides step-by-step instructions for voting in Pennsylvania, including mail-in ballots and how to request assistance from election officials in cases of faulty voting machines or voter registration errors. 6 7

Voting Systems

Citizens for Better Elections advocates for changes to Pennsylvania voting systems based on recommendations from selected experts. Recommendations include hand-marked ballots that “put as little technology between the voter and their vote as possible, preventing the possibility of errors due to machine malfunction, mis-calibration, or hacking.” Another policy recommendation is the use of optical scanners which CBE claims are faster and more accurate than hand-counting ballots. 8


Kevin Skoglund

Citizens for Better Elections president and chief technologist Kevin Skoglund is a cyber security consultant. Skoglund is a member of the Election Verification Network and serves on the National Institute of Science and Technology Voting System CyberSecurity Working Group, an advisory group to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 9

Skoglund helped write a U.S. Election Assistance Commission ban on devices in voting machines which contain hardware that can connect to wireless networks. 10

Muna Elshakhs

Muna Elshakhs is the co-founder of CBE. Since January 2020, she has served as a Borough Councilwoman for Narberth in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. 11

Rich Garella

Rich Garella is a member of CBE and has acted as its spokesman. Garella is a media consultant who worked on the unsuccessful Philadelphia city council campaign of Justin DiBerardinis (D-Philadelphia), the successful district attorney campaign of Lawrence Krasner (D-Philadelphia), and the unsuccessful city council campaign of Kristin Combs (G-Philadelphia). Earlier in his career, Garella worked for Moveon.org and the International Republican Institute. 12


  1. “About Us.” Citizens for Better Elections. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.citizensforbetterelections.org/?page_id=350.
  2. “About Us.” Citizens for Better Elections. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.citizensforbetterelections.org/?page_id=350.
  3. “Pennsylvania Petition To Re-Examine ExpressVote XL.” Free Speech for People. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://freespeechforpeople.org/pennsylvania-petition-to-re-examine-expressvote-xl/.
  4.  Erdley, Deb. “Study finds huge difference in cost of new voting machines for Pennsylvania counties.” Trib Live. August 15, 2019. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/study-finds-huge-difference-in-the-cost-of-new-voting-machines-for-pennsylvania-counties/.
  5. “What We Don’t Know about the Voatz “Blockchain” Internet Voting System*.” CSE.SC. May 1, 2019. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://cse.sc.edu/~buell/blockchain-papers/documents/WhatWeDontKnowAbouttheVoatz_Blockchain_.pdf.
  6. “Problems on Election Day?”Citizens for Better Elections. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.citizensforbetterelections.org/?page_id=256.
  7. “2022 General Election Facts.” Citizens for Better Elections. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.citizensforbetterelections.org/.
  8. “How to Choose the Best Voting System.” Citizens for Better Elections. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.citizensforbetterelections.org/?page_id=211.
  9. “Kevin Skoglund.” The Federmann Cyber Security Research Center. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://csrcl.huji.ac.il/book/kevin-skoglund.
  10. Geller, Eric. “‘Reckless and stupid’: Security world feuds over how to ban wireless gear in voting machines.” Politico. February 9, 2021. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/09/security-wireless-gear-voting-machine-467983.
  11. “Muna Elshakhs.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.linkedin.com/in/muna-elshakhs-193a45177/.
  12.  Davies, Dave. “Controversy swirls around new Philadelphia city voting system.” WHYY PBS. February 11, 2019. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://whyy.org/articles/controversy-swirls-around-new-philadelphia-city-voting-system/.
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