Guest post by Joe Hoft
The US Election process is BROKEN. Nearly two-thirds of all controls needed to ensure accurate and secure elections are missing!
In the corporate world all controls related to the financial reporting process are inventoried and tested annually. For multi-national companies this can mean over 1,000 controls are tested each year. Testing is performed by internal and external auditors all year long. If a control is not in place, not working, or designed poorly, the control issues are addressed and the control is retested at year-end. ALL KEY CONTROLS must be in place and working properly before the external auditor will sign off on a company’s financials reported to the public.
In contrast, in the US election process, only one-third of all controls are in place. The US election process is a disaster.
A group of election experts and professionals from various fields performed an analysis of the controls necessary to be in place to ensure accurate and secure elections. This group which labels itself FATE2024 performed its work over the past few months.
FATE2024 identified 14 key processes that are part of US elections. Below is a list of these processes:
- Voter Registration
- Voter Roll Maintenance
- Ballot Printing
- Vote by Mail
- Vote in Person
- Physical Security
- Reporting Results
- Election Certification
- Ballot Storage and Maintenance
- System Security
- Election Donations
- Election Facility Management
- Selection of Election Personnel
- Effective Governance
Within these 14 processes, 100 subprocesses were defined. Next over 500 detailed controls were identified in total in these subprocesses. Per the analysis of these controls, only 36% of the controls identified were in place!
In the corporate world, financial controls are defined as follows:
Financial controls are the procedures, policies, and means by which an organization monitors and controls the direction, allocation, and usage of its financial resources. Financial controls are at the very core of resource management and operational efficiency in any organization.
As noted above, all controls related to financial reporting in an organization are tested annually to determine they are working as intended. External auditors rely on the results of this work in their annual audits of financial statements. ALL key controls must be in place.
Things are much, much different with US elections. Examples of four controls identified that are necessary to be in place in the voter registration process are: verification of citizenship; verification of residency; verification of identity; and verification of eligibility. If these controls are not in place, individuals can vote in an election who are not eligible to vote.
FATE2024 determined that today there are many ways that non-citizens can register to vote. In addition chain of custody is missing and systems are not secure throughout the election process.
Unfortunately, in the US hundreds of controls are absent throughout the election process.
US elections are not well controlled at all. We expect US corporations to adhere to stringent control regimes to ensure their financials are accurate and yet we allow our elections to run worse than third world countries.
(Please reach out to your election officials and state officials to see what they are doing about these issues in your state.)
Joe Hoft worked around the world for a Fortune 500 Corporation while attending executive meetings, and board and audit committee meetings in multiple countries. He lived in Hong Kong for nearly a decade overseeing a major business function for a multinational US corporation and prior to that oversaw the financial reporting for multimillion-dollar and billion-dollar entities. He’s earned ten degrees or designations, including an MBA, CPA, CISA and FLMI.