Congress needs to boost funding to states to help them buy secure voting machines to prevent Russia and other hostile nations from hacking U.S. elections, election experts told a House panel Wednesday. “This is a critical need, and must be addressed immediately (to have an impact on the 2018 election),” said Edgardo Cortés, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, which held statewide elections earlier this month. Experts also recommended that states stop using touchscreen voting machines and replace them with paper-based systems such as optical scanners that tabulate paper ballots and provide tangible evidence of election results. “In many electronic voting systems in use today, a successful attack that exploits a software flaw might leave behind little or no forensic evidence,” warned Matthew Blaze, an associate professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania. “This can make it effectively impossible to determine the true outcome of an election or even that a compromise has occurred.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said she is working on legislation to ensure that, whatever election system a state chooses, there is always some sort of paper backup to verify each vote.
… Virginia was one of the states targeted by Russian hackers. The state, which held its election for governor and state legislature earlier this month, directed its counties to end the use of touchscreen voting machines because of the unacceptable risk that they could be breached. Virginia voters cast paper ballots instead in the Nov. 7 election, reflecting a growing trend by states to return to paper ballots.