The Virginia State Board of Elections voted Friday to ban use of touch-screen voting machines in November’s closely watched gubernatorial contest, over concerns the equipment can be hacked. The three-person board voted unanimously at a hastily arranged meeting to decertify touch-screen voting machines, which are still used by counties and cities around the state. The vote came after a closed-door briefing on potential vulnerabilities to the touch-screen systems. “It was enlightening, to say the least,” said board member Clara Belle Wheeler, who said she had originally intended not vote for decertification because of the closeness to the Nov. 7 elections.
The state said it is keeping information about these vulnerabilities private because other states use these touch-screen voting machines. Virginia and New Jersey are the only states holding statewide elections this year.
Virginia elections officials said the decision to decertify the machines was partly motivated after a demonstration at a hacking conference, known as DEF CON, earlier this year showed how that the touch screens could be hacked easily.