Back to Newsroom


Support from organization of craigslist founder has already resulted in expansion of left-right coalition for election security

August 26, 2019 – National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC), a non-partisan organization that works to secure voting technology from cyber manipulation, proudly announces a $250,000 gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies. The funding has already helped NEDC to expand its efforts to build effective bipartisan movement in Congress and in the states.

A cornerstone of democracy, voting profoundly affects every issue that concerns Americans, from the economy to civil rights. However, the right to vote is useless if votes are not accurately counted. For decades, cyber and national security experts have issued repeated warnings that the U.S.’s increasingly computerized election infrastructures are vulnerable to the undetectable manipulation of foreign adversaries and domestic hackers.

Especially with the 2020 U.S. presidential election on the horizon, these holes in voting technology pose an imminent threat to American democracy. Yet historically, it has been challenging to achieve bipartisan support for election security.

“The only way this country is going to bolster our currently fragile voting system is if organizations and individuals on both sides of the aisle demand reforms for security and accountability,” said Susan Greenhalgh, Vice President for Programs at National Election Defense Coalition. “At NEDC, we have successfully built an inclusive left-right coalition of stakeholders from across the political spectrum who agree on the need for mandates for paper ballots and post-election audits.”

With this generous gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, NEDC has hired new staff to broaden the scope of its existing coalition, with a specific focus on expanding and organizing a new right-of-center network of organizations that support election security. The network’s goal is to secure funds for states in the 2019-2020 federal appropriations budget and to pass legislation such as the SAFE Act, which secures elections with paper ballots, post- election audits, and improved cyber security requirements.

“Full inclusion and participation in our democracy depends on the opportunity to vote, but bad actors are attacking the integrity of our systems,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “We all need to work together to bolster this tenet of American life, and I’m honored to support National Election Defense Coalition as they engage patriots who have a wide range of beliefs in this effort.”

For years, the characterization of election security has consisted of pervasive misconceptions, most prominently that voting machines are never connected to the internet. With support of the gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, earlier in 2019, NEDC engaged a Senior Technical Advisor to help sort fact from fiction. This expert has already exposed that equipment that runs soon-to-be-outdated software is being sold as 'new'. The goal of this work is to counter misinformation and false assurances from the vendors and educate election officials and legislators on how easy it truly is to hack elections.

Greenhalgh continued: “We are proud to partner with Craig Newmark Philanthropies to build on our unique and strategically targeted approach to securing the reforms that this country needs to protect our elections.”

About National Election Defense Coalition

The National Election Defense Coalition (NEDC) is building a bipartisan movement of experts in cybersecurity and elections administration, policymakers, and concerned citizens, united across party lines to secure our elections technology, moving the agenda for significant policy reform to protect our elections from electronic fraud and cyberattack

About Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance people and grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans and military families. For more information, please visit: