National: Here are the serious tech glitches that frustrated voters on Super Tuesday | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

The scenario election officials feared – Russians hacking the vote – did not come to be on Super Tuesday. But the mega-primary day was bedeviled by a slew of serious technical glitches that frustrated voters. Voting machines shut down in Los Angeles. Network problems also forced California officials to hand out provisional ballots. In Minnesota and Texas, tools voters use to look up their polling locations were not functioning due to heavy web traffic. And there were robocalls spreading disinformation in Texas, which were reported for federal investigation. The problems underscored how such issues can sow as much distrust and chaos as a hacking campaign — especially if rumors are left to swirl. The government’s top cybersecurity officials spent much of the day assuring the public that technology was the culprit, not Russia. “To the extent we can put more information in the hands of voters to be more informed, resilient voters, we’ll have better outcomes,” a top official at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said during a 9 p.m. call. “We’ll be able to get ahead of these more salacious claims that something might be happening and put appropriate information in the hands of the public.” The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly with reporters, praised election officials for getting information about the tech problems rapidly to voters. “We’ll continue to shout that message up to November and afterward.”

National: There Is Shockingly Little Oversight of Private Companies That Create Voting Technologies | Alan Beard and Lawrence Norden/Slate

The Iowa caucuses debacle was a reminder of some of the most important principles in election security, among them that transparency in elections is important, paper ballot backups are crucial to ensuring an accurate count, voting should not take place on smartphone apps, and running elections should be left to professionals. But missing from the round-the-clock media coverage was another valuable lesson from Iowa: Private tech companies are central to our elections, and our failure to engage in real oversight of their practices leaves our elections vulnerable to breakdown and attack. The reporting in the aftermath of Iowa identified a 6-month-old private tech company called Shadow as the supplier of the failed app at the root of the mess. In an attempt to help precinct captains report out three separate sets of results, the Iowa Democratic Party had paid Shadow $60,000 to develop an app to convey the vote totals. Precincts would take and upload pictures of results, which would go to party headquarters. But on caucus day, the app failed, as did backup phone lines. This prompted many to ask how something as important as reporting vote totals in a presidential election could be left in the hands of a shoestring tech company. The follow-up question should have been: What are the controls on private vendors that sell the equipment and technology that run our elections?

National: Tornado, Virus Fears and Malfunctioning Machines Disrupt Super Tuesday Voting in Some States | Christina A. Cassidy and Adrian Sainz/Associated Press

Deadly tornadoes knocked out polling places in Tennessee, fears over the coronavirus left some precincts in California and Texas short of election workers, and overwhelmed voting systems led to long lines in Los Angeles as Super Tuesday sent voters surging to the polls in 14 states. Scattered reports of polling places opening late, machines malfunctioning or voter rolls being down temporarily disrupted voting in some of the states voting Tuesday, but there were no widespread reports of voters being unable to cast a ballot or security breaches. Just hours before polls were set to open in Tennessee, tornadoes tore through parts of the state, destroying at least 140 buildings and killing at least 22. With more than a dozen polling sites in Nashville’s Davidson County damaged, voters were sent to other locations, where some of them encountered long lines. The Tennessee Democratic Party and the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren successfully sued Davidson County election officials and the secretary of state’s office to extend voting for three hours beyond the scheduled 7 p.m. closing time. In Texas, voting got off to a slow start in Travis County, home to Austin, because many election workers did not show up, with some citing fears of contracting the coronavirus, according to the county clerk’s office. The election office said it began implementing emergency procedures, with elections staff and other employees filling in as poll workers.

National: Bipartisan commission to make 75 recommendations to defend against cyberattacks | Maggie Miller/The Hill

A new report by a bipartisan commission will include at least 75 recommendations for Congress and the executive branch on how to defend the nation against cyberattacks, including bipartisan recommendations for defending elections. Members of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which includes lawmakers, federal officials and industry leaders, highlighted the group’s focus on election security during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday, previewing some of the recommendations that will be among those released March 11. Commission member former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.) said the report — which marks a major effort to create a blueprint for federal action on cybersecurity going forward — was “biased towards action,” and was meant to spur change. “It’s not some report that is going to be in the Library of Congress that no one is going to look at again,” Murphy said. “There is going to be some legislative action, there are going to be some executive actions.” The report’s recommendations around election security will mark a rare bipartisan effort to address the issue following years of contention on Capitol Hill after Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

National: Top DHS official says no ‘malicious cyber activity’ seen on Super Tuesday | Maggie Miller/The Hill

A senior official at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cyber agency said Tuesday night that they had not seen any “malicious cyber activity” aimed at disrupting elections during primary voting in 14 states. “We don’t have any reports of any malicious cyber activity across the states today,” the senior official at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) told reporters. The official noted that while there were some “sporadic” information technology (IT) issues, all the election systems were able to get “back up and running” with no issues due to targeting by hackers. One IT incident the official pointed to was in California, where the secretary of state’s website was briefly brought down by what the office tweeted was “higher than normal traffic” and not hacking activity.

Arkansas: ES&S iVotronic voting machines linked to problems, count delay in Jefferson County | Dale Ellis, Cynthia Howell, Emily Walkenhorst/Northwest Arkansas Online

Voting machine problems in Jefferson County delayed the vote count in both city and county races Tuesday night after poll workers in several locations were unable to close out the machines because of electronic failures. Technicians from the election commission had to manually close the machine at each affected location. The iVotronic touch-screen voting machines have been in service for about 15 years. Michael Adam, chairman of the Jefferson County Election Commission, announced shortly before 9 p.m. that final results would be delayed. The results were announced after 10:30 p.m. The primary got off to a rocky start during early voting when a ballot error in the Democratic Primary affecting four precincts that had the wrong state Senate race on the ballot was discovered over a week into early voting and after 152 voters had cast ballots in the wrong race. The four precincts, located in the city of Pine Bluff, were programmed with the Senate District 25 race between incumbent Sen. Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff and Efrem Elliott of White Hall, but should have been programmed with the Senate District 27 race between Keidra Burrell of Pine Bluff and former Rep. Garry Smith of Camden.

California: Los Angeles County’s new voting machines hailed for accessibility, dogged by security concerns | Neena Satija and Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

For the past decade, Los Angeles County has been promising to develop a new voting system that was to be a model for the nation, accessible to voters with disabilities and to a population that speaks more than a dozen languages. As the first publicly owned voting system in the United States, it would also ease the grip that a handful of private companies have long held on how Americans vote, supporters of the effort said. After the 2016 election, amid fears of foreign interference, the promise of Los Angeles’s grand experiment was even more enticing as states and counties scrambled to replace their aging election infrastructure with more secure options. More than $280 million later, on the eve of the California primary, Los Angeles County’s Voting Solutions for All People system — a combination of mail-in ballots and new custom-made electronic voting machines — is being celebrated as a major step forward for voting accessibility. At the same time, though, it has been dogged by security concerns and allegations of a flawed ballot design, according to a government contracting firm that examined the system, advocates for election security and some local candidates. A December report commissioned by the California Secretary of State’s office said the system did not meet several of the state’s cybersecurity and accessibility standards, which were to be “woven directly into the DNA” of the new system, according to the development contract. As early voting began last week, more than two dozen polling locations opened hours or a full day late because of missing equipment and problems coordinating election workers.

California: Los Angeles County voters encounter hours-long waits and glitches with brand-new system | Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles voters who showed up to cast ballots in person on Tuesday reported long wait times and operational errors at a number of the county’s newly designed vote centers, experiences that suggested an inauspicious beginning for L.A.’s first fully redesigned election system in more than half a century. While some Angelenos gave high marks to the new voting machines and applauded the extended hours of operation, a number of the in-person locations were overwhelmed by the throngs of voters looking to participate in the most talked-about California presidential primary in at least a generation. The flow of voters had hardly ebbed by the official end of voting at 8 p.m. Those in line at that time were allowed to stay there until they had a chance to vote. “This is absurd,” said Jefferson Stewart, a software designer who left the vote center at the Westchester Family YMCA frustrated after waiting 90 minutes to cast his ballot. “If the idea is to make this simpler, it’s gotten much worse.” Brentwood resident Myles Berkowitz found himself in a state of perpetual motion. He stopped by UCLA’s Hammer Museum around 4 p.m. but left after being told that it would be a three-hour wait. Three more locations, three more long lines. He ended up at the Felicia Mahood Multipurpose Center in West L.A. “They’re telling me, after waiting here for another hour and a half, that it’s another two hours,” Berkowitz said Tuesday evening as he stood in line. “This is like gridlock on the 405,” he said.

California: Voters say Los Angeles County’s fancy new voting machines aren’t working | Rebecca Heilweil/Vox

New voting machines making their debut on Super Tuesday in Los Angeles County are already raising concerns about unreliable technology. While the system is meant to modernize voting and make democracy more accessible, some voters are complaining about technical glitches and usability. That’s not great news, since LA represents a massive election district in the state with the most delegates up for grabs in the Democratic primary. Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that election officials were having issues with their systems linking up with California’s voter database, which meant that the registration system wasn’t tracking who had already voted or incorporating new registration information. This is a big problem, since California passed a law last year that allows for voter registration on election day in an effort to enfranchise more voters. Meanwhile, many voters have complained on Twitter that their voting machines weren’t working, with some reaching out to election officials on the platform for help. There were also complaints that the machines were not taking voters’ paper ballots, which need to be inserted back into the machine. Several people also said that the e-poll books weren’t working.

Georgia: Clarke County says no to Georgia’s new voting machines | Doug Richards/

The Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections voted Tuesday night to reject the state’s new voting machine system. The board voted 3-2 to use hand-marked paper ballots instead for the duration of the presidential preference primary. Georgia rolled out its new computerized ballot-marking devices for the first time statewide when early voting in the primary began Monday.  Voters in Clarke County used them Monday and Tuesday. But the board “found it impracticable to … protect absolute ballot secrecy while allowing sufficient monitoring” of the computerized voting system in Athens’ early voting site, according to a statement issued by elections board chairman Jesse Evans. 11Alive News heard similar complaints during a visit to a south Georgia special election in February.  Voters said the large, bright and upright computer touchpads were visible to other people and poll workers inside precincts. Election officials told us the devices were difficult to position inside polling places in such a way that also assured that poll workers could monitor voter activity according to state law. That’s required in order to deter tampering with the machines.

Georgia: Investigators find no evidence to Kemp’s hacking claim | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia investigators found no evidence to support Gov. Brian Kemp’s allegation just before Election Day in 2018 that the Democratic Party tried to hack election information, according to a report released Tuesday by the attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office closed the case that Kemp had opened when he was secretary of state, overseeing the same election he was running for. Kemp made the hacking accusation two days before the election.Kemp, a Republican, defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams by about 55,000 votes.No election information was damaged, stolen or lost, according to the attorney general’s report. Nor were any crimes committed by the person who reported vulnerabilities with Georgia’s election registration websites to the Democratic Party and an attorney who is suing the state.Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams said Kemp made “outright lies” to attack his political opponents and help his election.“More than a year after the sitting secretary of state leveraged baseless accusations against his political opponents, we’re finally receiving closure on an ‘investigation’ that has been a sham from the start,” said Williams, a state senator from Atlanta. “As we have since well before these outright lies came to light in the first place, Georgia Democrats will continue to do everything in our power to fight back against voter suppression. A spokeswoman for Kemp said his office did the right thing by asking law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and GBI, to investigate.

Michigan: Swing state status could put Michigan at risk for Russian election interference | Paul Egan/Detroit Free Press

With the March 10 primary one week away and Michigan seen as a battleground state in November, voters and election officials should be on guard for Russian and other foreign interference, experts say. Threats range, they say, from false information posted online about when and how to vote, to “fake news” Facebook posts intended to increase division and reduce voter turnout, to actual attacks on voter databases and other election-related infrastructure. But they say, residents should be mindful that one of our greatest vulnerabilities is ourselves. Ben Nimmo, an international internet sleuth whose work helped Facebook and other social media platforms ban thousands of accounts that spread disinformation during the 2016 election campaign, said it is the hyperpolarized nature of the U.S. political scene that makes the country more vulnerable to disinformation campaigns, which are increasingly difficult to detect. “Disinformation operations tend to target anger and fear,” said Nimmo, who is based in Scotland as director of investigations for the social network analysis firm Graphika. “If you see a post on social media that makes you angry or afraid, take a step back and ask, ‘Why is someone trying to manipulate me?’ “

Texas: ‘The worst voting experience’: Long lines drag Super Tuesday deep into the night for some voters | Mike Morris, Samantha Ketterer, and Nicole Hensley/Houston Chronicle

Dozens of Democratic voters were still waiting to cast ballots at midnight in Houston, turning Super Tuesday into a painful slog for some citizens amid questions about how the County Clerk’s office had allocated its voting machines across the county. Janet Gonzalez left work early and at 5:30 p.m. checked a website the clerk’s office runs to show wait times at polling places. It seemed Texas Southern University had a short wait, but when she arrived she found a massive line. She waited an hour outside and three more inside before she finally cast her ballot. Officials with the clerk’s office acknowledged the accuracy of the wait-times website is reliant on election workers manually updating the status of their polling places. Some people in line gave up and walked away, Gonzalez said. Others briefly sought refuge on a scattering of chairs before giving them up to others as the line inched forward. Polls closed at 7 p.m., but voters still can cast ballots as long as they stay in line. “It was a challenge,” Gonzalez said. “You have to look around at the elderly people and overcome your own pain.”

West Virginia: State will NOT use controversial voting app Voatz during primary elections | Internewscast

West Virginia has announced it will not be using the voting app Voatz app after researchers found it is ‘riddled with vulnerabilities’. The US state employed the technology in 2018 to troops overseas and was also set to implement it in the upcoming primary elections for residents with disabilities  However, the flaws, uncovered earlier this month by MIT engineers, give hackers the ability to alter, stop or expose how an individual users has voted. Secretary of State Mac Warner said on Friday that disabled and overseas voters will now use a service by Democracy Live which lets them log in to fill out a ballot online or print an unmarked ballot and mail it in. West Virginia has announced it will not be using the voting app Voatz app after researchers found it is ‘riddled with vulnerabilities’. The US state employed the technology in 2018 to troops oversease and was also set to implement it in the upcoming primary elections for residents with disabilities  The US state was set to employ Voatz following a new bill that requires counties to provide certain individuals with a type of online ballot-marking device that can be used with a smartphone.