National: Electronic pollbook security raises concerns going into 2024 | Christina A. Cassidy/Associated Press
They were blamed for long lines in Los Angeles during California’s 2020 presidential primary, triggered check-in delays in Columbus, Ohio, a few months later and were at the center of former President Donald Trump’s call for supporters to protest in Detroit during last November’s midterms. High-profile problems involving electronic pollbooks have opened the door for those peddling election conspiracies and underscore the critical role the technology plays in whether voting runs smoothly. Russia and Iran already have demonstrated interest in accessing the systems. Despite their importance and potential vulnerabilities, national standards for the security and reliability of electronic pollbooks do not exist and efforts underway to develop them may not be ready or widely adopted in time for the 2024 presidential election. “We have a trust issue in elections. The more we can say there are standards that equipment must be tested to, the better,” said Larry Norden, an election security expert with the Brennan Center for Justice. “It’s like a seal of approval that really doesn’t exist right now.” Poll workers use electronic pollbooks to check in voters. They typically are a tablet or laptop computer that accesses an electronic list of registered voters with names, addresses and precinct information, with some doing so through an internet connection.