While other nations are rapidly incorporating biometrics into their voting technologies, the US Congress and states – and local jurisdictions – don’t seem to be all that concerned about utilizing biometrics to verify the identities of individuals voting in America, despite the concerns over election machine cyber-tampering that’s continued to mount since the 2016 elections. In its report, Observations on Voting Equipment Use and Replacement (PDF), which was requested by lawmakers, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) — Congress’ investigative arm — “did not consider the issue of biometrics as part of our work,” Biometric Update was told by Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security & Justice issues at GAO. In fact, Gambler said, “GAO’s prior work on elections issues also has not addressed biometrics, and thus, we don’t have background or insights to share in this area.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) chief cybersecurity official, Jeanette Manfra, Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, National Protection and Programs Directorate, told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s March 21 hearing on election security that, “We have evidence of … election-related systems in 21 states were targeted” by Russia.
DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis Acting Director Samuel Liles also testified that by late last September, the Intelligence Community had established that 21 states “were potentially targeted by Russian government-linked cyber actors” by scanning of Internet-connected election systems.