Senators are running into roadblocks from state officials as they try to craft legislation to secure election systems before the midterms in November. Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are pushing for legislation that would bolster the security of U.S. voting infrastructure, with an eye toward countering threats from adversaries like Russia. But Lankford on Wednesday was forced to table an amendment to a bill moving through the Senate that was aimed at improving information-sharing between federal and state election officials on election cyber threats. State officials objected to the amendment. The development sparked frustration on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where lawmakers have been agitating for action. … The amendment would also mandate that election service providers, including vendors and contractors, notify state officials promptly if election systems — including voting machines, voter registration databases and election agency email systems — are breached, and that state officials provide the information to their federal counterparts in a timely fashion. The secretaries of state questioned whether states would be penalized if a vendor or contractor failed to notify state election agencies of cybersecurity incidents.
… There is debate within the security community over the extent of the threat to actual voting machines. Some say the decentralized nature of U.S. voting systems, coupled with the fact that voting machines are not connected to the internet, make it unlikely that hackers could have a meaningful effect on a federal election.
But some experts have stepped up calls for states to do away with paperless direct-recording electronic voting machines and transition to technology that provides a paper trail — allowing for an audit in the case a result is called into question.
“The choices are written directly to computer memory and you don’t have another record of the voters’ choices,” said Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting, an organization that advocates for voter-verified paper ballots and paper-backed voting technology. “Not only do you not have the ability to detect when something went wrong, you have no way to recover if something did go wrong.”
Full Article: Push to bolster election security stalls in Senate | TheHill.