Virginia: How reliable are Virginia’s voting machines? | State of Elections

It may be tempting to think that the United States, the land of smartphones and supercomputers, would have commensurate levels of technology when it came to voting. Dispelling this, sadly, does not require us to look very far. Meet the WINVote touchscreen voting machine. Created and implemented in the early-2000s (and without any form of update since 2004), the WINVote machine is essentially a glorified laptop running Windows XP that also features a touch display. Its USB ports are physically unprotected, the wireless encryption key is set to “a-b-c-d-e,” the administrator password to access the machine (which is unchangeable) is “admin,” and there exists no auditable paper trail after an individual has voted. Oh, and it’s prone to crash. A lot. All of these, among other concerns, combined to lead security experts to term it “the worst voting machine in the U.S.” Despite these documented flaws, when Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe cast a ballot in 2014 at a Richmond-area precinct, he — like many voters in the city and in other parts of the Commonwealth — encountered the problematic WINVote machine. Multiple complaints over crashes and slow voting led the Governor to call for an investigation by the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA).

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