It’s been a tough couple of years for the business of voting. There’s the state that discovered a Russian oligarch now finances the company that hosts its voting data. Then there’s the company that manufactures and services voter registration software in eight states that found itself hacked by Russian operatives leading up to the 2016 presidential election. And then there’s the largest voting machine company in the country, which initially denied and then admitted it had installed software on its systems considered by experts to be extremely vulnerable to hacking. Private companies play a crucial role in elections, from printing and designing ballots, to manufacturing voting machines, to hosting results websites. The industry exists because the local and state governments who run elections don’t have the resources or expertise to maintain all aspects of an election themselves.
As the United States grapples with how to make its elections more secure, the voting industry’s security practices are under scrutiny like never before.
“Election officials have been doing a ton around election security, but if that same thing isn’t going on at the vendor level, then that creates a really big potential vulnerability for the entire system,” said Edgardo Cortéz, an election security adviser for the Brennan Center, and a former Virginia elections official.
In 2015, a company called The Sidus Group was purchased by another company called ByteGrid.