CODE RED 2020: Selected Readers’ Comments
Jonathan Simon has been alerting us to the dangers of our insecure, computerized election system long before anyone had even considered the likelihood of malign foreign actors exploiting its weaknesses. The 2016 presidential election was a watershed moment for public awareness, but as Simon showed in 2018, and now again in 2020, the vulnerabilities still exist, and, more than ever, imperil our democracy.
CODE RED is both a prescient history and a clarion call to fix the way we vote before government by the people is a fading memory.
– Sue Halpern; Staff Writer, The New Yorker
Jonathan Simon’s new edition of CODE RED is a modern-day call to action for all Americans concerned about the integrity of our voting process.
Poorly built voting machines, lacking in critical security protections, operating in local election offices without public transparency, and without the most basic of protections—robust audits to verify our votes are accurately tabulated—are bad enough, but when combined with the larger picture of our hyper-partisanship, the willingness to suppress legal voters, and even break laws, we are left with no other conclusion but that our approach to our elections must immediately be changed if our democratic republic is going to survive.
Kudos to the author for looking at the forest, and not just the trees, in this high-level examination of America’s voting crisis.
– Ion V. Sancho, Supervisor of Elections of Leon County, Florida, 1989 – 2016
What is more important in a democracy than an accurately counted secret ballot? And the means of counting it, in public so everyone can know it was accurate? That’s the machinery of democracy, and if the people can’t tell if that machinery is working, then just how should we expect them to feel about their democracy?
I first heard Jonathan Simon speak when I heard his 2014 Guns and Butter interview. That was four years after I, with my co-commissioner, had implemented near-100% public hand counts of paper ballots that had been tabulated by computer. That computerized tabulation was a New York State mandate, and a black-box count suited neither of us—he a Republican, I a Democrat. So, within months of hearing Guns and Butter, Jonathan and I had connected, and ever since, thanks in large part to his efforts, I’ve traveled hither and yon to tout my county’s unique hand count. The truth is that it’s not that hard, it doesn’t take that long, and it doesn’t cost that much. It’s a wonderful exercise in participatory democracy. But it’s been a hard sell out in election land.
Jonathan’s proposal is better. In fact, it borders on genius. I salute Jonathan’s tireless efforts and enthusiastically endorse his Split The Difference Audit. It just might Save This Democracy for America.
– Virginia Martin, PhD; former Election Commissioner, Columbia County, NY
Stalin is rumored to have said it best: “It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes.” American exceptionalism notwithstanding, such thoughts have a way of crossing borders. Games are games, wherever played. What CODE RED refuses to do is give America a pass because it is America.
Jonathan Simon, whose experience in election forensics dates to the very beginning of America’s computerized voting era, doesn’t blanch at the evidence and turn politely away. Where he comes out is pretty simple: until we return to counting votes in public, we will be putting everything we value at risk. If we don’t want the rapid decline of personal freedom, democracy, and moral integrity to continue, the first thing we need to do is secure our electoral and vote-counting processes against manipulation—by anyone.
Confronting the truth may depress you, but it will also give you the knowledge and the tools to take back the country. I hope we have the individual and collective fortitude to face how negligent we’ve been and see that there is a way out, if not an easy one.
– James Fadiman, PhD; author of Personality and Personal Growth
Jonathan Simon has provided an important public service. CODE RED must not only be widely read and distributed among people who care about the integrity of our elections but should provide enough fodder for a comprehensive investigation of ballot counting procedures. Such an investigation needs to happen soon, and it cannot be conducted by congressional or other political leadership. Simon’s research is thorough and his case is more than compelling.
– John Zogby, Founder of the Zogby Poll