Yesterday’s hearing was a relatively sober presentation of 2020 election issues as — I imagine — most Americans understand them. I imagine most Americans view the election as flawed in concerning ways that require attention, but not as an immediate crisis that needs to be resolved by reversing the outcome.
I found Chris Krebs’s testimony disturbing in several ways. For one, he kept insisting that paper ballots provide a foolproof audit trail. This, of course, ignores the reality that the audit trail itself can be fabricated. He also repeated his claim that the 2020 election was the most “secure” in history. On questioning he had to admit this claim was limited; it referred only to cybersecurity of the garden-variety Internet kind, not to general security against attempted fraud. I wish someone had asked him whether his claim was based on his knowledge of the design of the infrastructure before the election (in which the agency he headed played a role), or his forensic knowledge of how the infrastructure performed during the election. All in all, Krebs’s testimony did more to obscure than enlighten.
Ken Starr made several important points in his testimony:
- The Constitutional issue of state officials changing the election process rules without the approval of their legislatures is a valid one.
- Standardized “best practices” based on experience (as opposed to “theoretical constructs”) need to be adopted in every state, especially for the processing of mail-in ballots.
- The 60-odd lawsuits the courts have entertained since Nov. 3 have done little to address the substantive allegations which have been raised. Starr seemed to me to be resigned to the fact the judiciary cannot provide the level of election transparency the public expects.
Despite being relatively sober as a deliberative exercise, the hearing was not without flare-ups or the usual dosage of placebo-like speechifying. Still, in the sense of admitting a problem so that it can be addressed, the hearing struck me as a mostly productive event.