Local election officials were taken aback by a new report that could lead to the elimination of a touchscreen voting system used in nearly 30 Virginia localities — including Appomattox County, Nelson County and Lynchburg. “We are very concerned,” said Mary Turner, secretary of the local electoral board in Appomattox. “… We’ve been using these machines for many years, and we’ve not had any problems with them.” The report, released last week by the Virginia Department of Elections, questioned the security and reliability of the WinVote touchscreen voting machine. It specifically found that a WinVote’s wireless network — a feature unique to this model — may make it prone to crashing and vulnerable to cyberattack.
State administrators are now calling for the swift removal of the machines, and a hearing has been set for Tuesday. In a memo, Edgardo Cortes, department commissioner, wrote he was “deeply disturbed” by the problems found and advised the State Board of Elections to decertify the WinVote touchscreens before the November elections.
“Both physical and wireless weaknesses can easily be exploited,” Cortes wrote of the machines. “Additionally, these weaknesses do not appear to be easily mitigated.”