On Thursday, President Donald Trump sent an all-caps tweet claiming that voting machines from a company called Dominion Voting Systems had deleted millions of votes for him around the country. The claim isn’t true, but he is the president—so it has had an impact. Election workers say they fear for their safety. They’re receiving death threats from supporters of the president.
Ben Hovland knows voting machines well. He runs the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), an independent federal agency that, among other jobs, tests and certifies this technology. The EAC writes standards for voting systems and tests the machines in labs for security, usability, and safety. And Hovland says there has been no widespread fraud or malfunction that would change the result of the election. Nor has the president—or the lawyers who have unsuccessfully tried challenging the result— produced any actual evidence supporting Trump’s claims.
Hovland and I discussed what’s happened since the election and the extraordinary amount of disinformation coming from the White House. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, Hovland talked about the president’s legal woes, the future of election security officials, and his message for Donald Trump.