Louisiana

Articles about voting issues in Louisiana.

Louisiana: Cyber Attack Has Louisiana State Lawmakers Asking Questions | Chuck Smith/Red River Radio

The ransom-ware  cyberattack that occurred two weeks ago on Louisiana’s state government computer servers disrupted several state agency operations and prompted Governor John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency. The state activated its cybersecurity response team following the ransomware attack on government servers, and according to a press release the state did not lose any data nor pay any ransom, AND no personal data was compromised as state cyber-experts explained the attack was aimed at disrupting state server operations only. The shut-down was to prevent any unauthorized access and allow tech teams to take necessary cyber-security measures. While inconvenient the breach was nowhere near the worst-case scenario, of widespread  data  theft  or  crippled government services  for weeks or months. During  a recent meeting of the Joint House and Senate Budget Committee, Republican  Sen. Sharon  Hewitt  from  Slidell  praised  the quick response from Louisiana’s technology services office to the Nov. 18th  ransom-ware, but asked about  potential  vulnerabilities for future attacks.

Full Article: Cyber Attack Has Louisiana State Lawmakers Asking Questions | Red River Radio.

Louisiana: No data lost, no ransom paid in Louisiana cyber attack; Ardoin says no impact on state elections | Mark Ballard/The Advocate

Monday’s ransomware attack, which crippled about 10% of the state’s computer network servers just hours after votes were tallied in statewide elections for governor, legislative seats and other positions prompted many to look for intrigue, a legislative panel heard Friday. “A lot of the conspiracy theorists are calling me,” said state Sen. Bodi White, R-Central. He questioned whether the attack, which kept many in state government from using their computers throughout much of the week, could cause problems for certification of election results or changed numbers in election returns. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said no. “Nothing impacted our system,” Ardoin said in an interview Friday. The website was down for a while. But, for the most part, the election office’s databases for voters and votes are separate from the state system.

Full Article: No data lost, no ransom paid in Louisiana cyber attack; Ardoin says no impact on state elections | Legislature | theadvocate.com.

Louisiana: Louisiana was hit by Ryuk, triggering another cyber-emergency | Sean Gallagher/Ars Technica

In October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning of increased targeting by ransomware operators of “big game”—targets with deep pockets and critical data that were more likely to pay ransoms to restore their systems. The past week has shown that warning was for good reason. On November 18, a ransomware attack caused Louisiana’s Office of Technology Services to shut down parts of its network, including the systems of several major state agencies. These included the governor’s office, the Department of Health (including Medicare systems), the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Department of Transportation. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards activated the state’s cybersecurity response team. While some services have been brought back online—in some cases, within hours—others are still in the process of being restored. Most of the interrupted services were caused by “our aggressive actions to combat the attack,” according to Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne. “We are confident we did not have any lost data, and we appreciate the public’s patience as we continue to bring services online over the next few days.”

Full Article: Louisiana was hit by Ryuk, triggering another cyber-emergency | Ars Technica.

Louisiana: Government computers knocked out after ransomware attack | Christopher Bing & Raphael Satter/Reuters

Louisiana state government computers were knocked out following a ransomware attack, the governor said on Monday, as results from the close gubernatorial election in the southern state await certification. Many state agencies had their servers taken down in response to the attack, Governor John Bel Edwards said in a series of messages posted to Twitter. He said the agencies were coming back online but that full restoration could take “several days.” “There is no anticipated data loss and the state did not pay a ransom,” he said. Ransomware works by scrambling data held on vulnerable computers and demanding a payment to unlock it. Louisiana Secretary of State spokesman Tyler Brey said that while his office’s website was briefly offline, the tallying of Saturday’s vote, in which Bel Edwards narrowly won re-election, was unaffected. The vote drew national attention following U.S. President Donald Trump’s well-publicized endorsement of Bel Edward’s Republican challenger, Eddie Rispone.

Full Article: Louisiana government computers knocked out after ransomware attack - Reuters.

Louisiana: Cyberattack on St. James Parish government didn’t stop early voting nor affect schools | David J. Mitchell/The Advocate

A cyberattack that forced the shutdown of St. James Parish government’s computer network did not interrupt early voting for runoff elections Nov. 16 or affect the public schools, according to state and parish school officials. “There was no stop in voting, just a change of the means,” Tyler Brey, spokesman for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, said Thursday. Workers in the parish’s Registrar of Voters offices had to switch from electronic voting machines to scanned paper ballots for several hours earlier this week while the state took its own system offline as a security precaution. Brey said voting continued Thursday on standard electronic machines and is expected to do so until early voting ends Saturday. In addition to the statewide runoffs for governor and secretary of state, voters in some parts of St. James will be deciding on two Parish Council seats: District 4 in the Convent area and District 5 in western St. James. Parish officials said Wednesday a phishing attack that state investigators believe originated in Russia hit the parish’s computer network.

Full Article: Cyberattack on St. James Parish government didn't stop early voting nor affect schools | Ascension | theadvocate.com.

Louisiana: Early voting errors prompt paper ballots | Robb Hays/WAFB

A small number of errors with Louisiana’s early voting machines has led to some voters having to use a paper ballot, election officials said Tuesday, Oct. 1. Louisiana Secretary of State spokesman Tyler Brey says, as of late Tuesday afternoon, the error has only occurred 20 times among the nearly 120,000 votes cast statewide thus far. At least one of the errors occurred with an early voting machine at the Coursey Boulevard location in Baton Rouge. In that case, the machine displayed an error message after the voter had made his selections for all races and tried to submit his ballot, that voter reported. Brey says the paper ballots are counted on election night after being verified by the Board of Elections Supervisors in each parish.

Full Article: Early voting errors prompt paper ballots.

Louisiana: New Louisiana election, same old voting machines | Melinda DeSlatte/Associated Press

Despite a national uproar over election security, Louisiana voters will be casting their ballots next month in a statewide election on the same type of paperless voting machines the state has used since 2005. No changes are expected for the 2020 presidential election either. Allegations of improper bid handling derailed plans to replace to Louisiana’s voting machines, so the secretary of state’s office had to redo its vendor search process. The agency still is drafting the solicitation for bid proposals, so new voting machines aren’t coming soon. Still, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said voters should feel confident in the machines they will use to cast their ballots in the Oct. 12 and Nov. 16 elections for Louisiana governor, six other statewide positions and state legislative seats.

Full Article: Analysis: New Louisiana election, same old voting machines - Washington Times.

Louisiana: Secretary of State on voting machines felon registration I voted stickers | Sara Macneil/Shreveport Times

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin is up for re-election for a four-year term in October and recently visited Bossier City to tour the Cyber Innovation Center and talk to a Republican women’s group. At the state level, the Secretary of State oversees elections, keeps records and authenticates businesses. Ardoin, a Republican from Baton Rouge, took over as interim Secretary of State in May of last year. Ardoin beat Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup in December in an election with a 17% voter turnout. The Times spoke with Ardoin for an update on current projects and what he’s accomplished since he’s been office. Ardoin talked about reducing the cost and number of elections and bringing in new technology to enhance voter turnout. Issues of controversy raised during Ardoin’s time in office include contract bids for voting machines, registration of felons and “I voted” stickers.

Full Article: Kyle Ardoin on voting machines felon registration I voted stickers.

Louisiana: Lawmakers drain voting machine replacement fund | Melinda Deslatte/Associated Press

Louisiana never had sizable sums set aside to buy the thousands of new voting machines it needs. But the state has even less now, after the small amount socked away for the expense was shifted elsewhere in an election-year legislative scramble to boost spending on education, public safety and health care. Lawmakers previously had put $2 million in state financing into a voting technology fund, as a down payment on a machine replacement expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin had hoped millions more would be added this year. Instead, lawmakers reshuffled the money to help pay for Ardoin’s office operations as they built the $30 billion state operating budget that starts July 1. That will leave lawmakers in the new term beginning in 2020 to find dollars to pay for machines. “I did warn them. I said, ‘The bill is coming. The bill is coming.’ It was a hugely missed opportunity,” said Ardoin, Louisiana’s chief elections officer. A contract for the new voting machines hasn’t been settled, and the secretary of state’s office hasn’t begun seeking vendors for the work, after a previous solicitation effort was derailed by allegations of improper bid handling.

Full Article: Lawmakers drain Louisiana voting machine replacement fund | Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Louisiana: States Explore Opportunities at National Summit on Cybersecurity | Dan Lohrmann/Government Technology

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices held their third National Summit on State Cybersecurity from May 14-15, 2019 at the Shreveport Convention Center. The unique event convened state homeland security advisors, chief information officers, chief information security officers, governors’ policy advisors, National Guard leaders, and others from all 55 states and territories to explore cybersecurity challenges and promising practices. Over the course of two days, participants engaged in a series of interactive sessions and breakouts to discuss countering the newest threats, disruption response planning, workforce development, and much more. … The sessions were packed with best practices, case studies, opportunities for improving cybersecurity in different areas and much more.

Full Article: States Explore Opportunities at National Summit on Cybersecurity.

Louisiana: Secretary of state will rent early-voting machines for fall election | Associated Press

Louisiana’s secretary of state told lawmakers Tuesday that he hopes to restart efforts to replace thousands of voting machines this summer, after the last effort was derailed by allegations of improper bid handling. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who oversees state elections, said the voting machine replacement work won’t be complete for the fall election, so his office will spend $2 million renting temporary machines. Ardoin told the House Appropriations Committee his office will rent early-voting machines for the October and November elections, when all of Louisiana’s statewide and legislative positions are on the ballot. The office will use spare parts to make sure the decade-old Election Day voting machines are running properly. “Because the last (bid process) didn’t work out so well, we’re working very hard to maneuver to make sure that we are settled for the fall election,” Ardoin said. A multimillion-dollar contract award to replace Louisiana’s voting machines was scrapped in October after the state’s chief procurement officer said the secretary of state’s office didn’t follow legal requirements in choosing the winning vendor, Dominion Voting Systems.

Full Article: Louisiana renting early-voting machines for fall election - SFGate.

Louisiana: Officials say Louisiana will be ready for felon voting rights change | The Times-Picayune

State officials said Louisiana will be ready for a law change that will allow thousands of people convicted of felonies to vote as of March 1, although little information has been available about how the registration process will work. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who oversees elections, and Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc are responsible for making sure those impacted have their voting rights restored. They hadn’t met face-to-face to talk about the issue until last Friday (Feb. 8), but each said they are mostly on the same page about how to implement the new law, which the Louisiana Legislature approved last year. “We are going to implement it and we are going to be ready,” Ardoin said in an interview Tuesday.

Full Article: Louisiana will be ready for felon voting rights change, officials say | nola.com.

Louisiana: What The Heck Is Going On With Felon Voting Rights In Louisiana? | TPM

In Louisiana, criminal offenders released from prison often linger in the purgatory of parole for years, or even decades, stripped of key civil rights. Because the Bayou State only restores voting rights to felons who complete probation or parole, some who get caught up in the system die before regaining the franchise. Those are the people whom state Rep. Patricia Smith wanted to help last year. Smith introduced a bill to restore voting rights to felons who’ve been on parole without problems for five years after their release from prison, as well as those who are on probation for five years. After three rounds of revisions, the bill passed the House in a squeaker of a vote, sailed through the Senate, and was signed into law as Act 636 by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) last May. But in December, stories started appearing in the local press suggesting that the law may apply to many more people than the 2,000-3,000 it was expected to affect. The actual number, according to advocacy groups and state prison officials, may be more like 36,000.

Full Article: What The Heck Is Going On With Felon Voting Rights In Louisiana? – Talking Points Memo.

Louisiana: New law could allow tens of thousands on probation to vote | The Times-Picayune

When Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Legislature approved a new law last spring restoring voting rights to former felons still under supervision, it was expected to give around 2,200 people the right to vote starting next March. Now, advocates and elected officials are saying the number could be as many as 36,000. Officials were aware the new law would restore voting rights to people living in the community on parole with no problems for five years after they have been released from prison. It was also acknowledged that it would benefit people who are on probation for five years. Those groups combined are fairly small, only a couple thousand people, according to the Louisiana Department of Corrections. But legislators, advocates and prison officials are now saying the law might also apply to the vast majority of people on probation — including those under supervision for fewer than five years — who have had their voting rights suspended. Natalie LaBorde, deputy commissioner with the Department of Corrections, confirmed the revised estimates.

Full Article: New Louisiana law could allow tens of thousands on probation to vote | nola.com.

Louisiana: Dominion won’t sue Louisiana over voided voting machine deal | Associated Press

The company whose multimillion-dollar contract award to replace Louisiana’s voting machines was scrapped said Wednesday it won’t sue over the cancellation. But the avoidance of litigation won’t immediately restart the state’s stalled work to update its decade-old voting system. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration voided the contract deal with Dominion Voting Systems in October, with the state’s chief procurement officer saying the secretary of state’s office mishandled the bid process, not following legal requirements. Dominion disagreed. But company spokeswoman Kay Stimson said the Colorado-based vendor won’t dispute the matter in court.

Full Article: Company won’t sue Louisiana over voided voting machine deal | Myrtle Beach Sun News.

Louisiana: Louisiana won’t have new voting machines for 2019 governor’s race | The Times-Picayune

Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said new voting machines will not be in place for the 2019 fall election cycle when the governor, attorney general, four other statewide elected positions and all 144 members of the Louisiana Legislature will be picked. The machines were supposed to be up and running before next year’s big campaign season, until the purchasing process stalled over concerns that the secretary of state’s office didn’t handle bidding properly. Ardoin has said his office made a mistake during the procurement process, but also blames Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration for the months-long delay and problems. The holdup means there isn’t enough time to purchase the machines and train local election officials to use them before the October 2019 elections, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Full Article: Louisiana won’t have new voting machines for 2019 governor’s race | nola.com.

Louisiana: In search for new voting machines, Louisiana may need to start over | StateScoop

The office of Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin may have start from scratch on its goal to obtain nearly 20,000 voting machines for the state. Last week, Jay Dardenne, the commissioner of the state Department of Administration, confirmed an Oct. 10 ruling by the chief procurement officer, Paula Tregere, dealing an all-but-fatal blow to the $95 million contract Ardoin had awarded in August. Ardoin announced Aug. 9 that his office had chosen Dominion Voting Systems, one of the largest manufactures of voting equipment, to supply the state with new machines in time for the 2020 presidential election. But Tregere canceled the contract after one of the losing bidders, Election Systems & Software — the largest U.S. manufacturer of voting equipment — objected to the contracting process, arguing the original request for proposals contained specifications that only Dominion’s equipment could meet. The Advocate reported last week that Dominion, whose appeal Dardenne rejected, is still deciding whether to sue the state over losing its contract. The company has until Dec. 12 to file a suit, otherwise the entire bidding process might have to start over, Ardoin’s press secretary, Tyler Brey, told StateScoop.

Full Article: In search for new voting machines, Louisiana may need to start over.

Louisiana: Voting machine work stalls, with no date to resume | The Advocate

With a major election year approaching, Louisiana’s work to replace voting machines it bought 13 years ago has remained stalled for months, amid bid-rigging allegations, a voided contract award, and claims of political meddling.

Decision upheld to scrap Louisiana voting machine contract
The Louisiana secretary of state’s office will have to redo its work to replace the state’s decade-old voting machines.

Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, whose office oversees state elections, has no immediate timeline for restarting the replacement effort as he waits to see if the cancelled contract award will prompt litigation.

That means there’s no schedule for when Louisiana will buy or lease new voting machines, as the state enters a big election cycle, with the governorship, six other statewide elected positions and all 144 state legislative seats on the ballot in October 2019.

Louisiana’s chief procurement officer found flaws with the bid process and scrapped the selection of Dominion Voting Systems to replace the voting machines, saying the secretary of state’s office didn’t follow legal requirements. A Dominion appeal was denied Wednesday.

Ardoin said in a statement he wants to get new voting machines “as soon as possible to continue to keep Louisiana at the forefront of election integrity and security.”

But Ardoin spokesman Tyler Brey said the office won’t determine how to move forward until it learns if Dominion will sue. Under state law, Dominion has two weeks from its appeal rejection to decide if it will file a lawsuit seeking to hold onto the lucrative contract award.

“Until they decide to do that or not do that, the process is not officially done,” Brey said Thursday. “The office is not going to put forward the plans for next steps until this system has run its course.”

Full Article: Louisiana voting machine work stalls, with no date to resume | Elections | theadvocate.com.

Full Article: Louisiana voting machine work stalls, with no date to resume | Elections | theadvocate.com.

Louisiana: Decision upheld to scrap Louisiana voting machine contract | Associated Press

The Louisiana secretary of state’s office will have to redo its work to replace the state’s decade-old voting machines, after Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration refused Wednesday to reinstate a voided multimillion-dollar contract award. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne reviewed the decision to scrap the deal with Dominion Voting Systems, and Dardenne said he found that cancelling the contract award was “in the best interest of the state.” “As important as it is for the state to procure high-quality, efficient and reliable voting machine technology, it is equally important that the public have confidence that the voting machines their tax dollars pay for are procured fairly, transparently and in accordance with law,” Dardenne wrote in a letter outlining his decision. If Dominion wants to continue to try to hang onto the lucrative contract award to replace 10,000 Election Day and early voting machines, it will have to go to court. Otherwise, the company will have to bid again in a new process that starts from scratch.

Full Article: Decision upheld to scrap Louisiana voting machine contract | News & Observer.

Louisiana: State Supreme Court chief justice says new law on felons voting doesn’t go far enough | The Advocate

A Louisiana law that takes effect in March and will allow felons who have been out of prison for five years to register to vote — despite remaining on probation or parole — doesn’t go far enough to address state laws that “unconstitutionally disenfranchise” its citizens, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson says. Johnson’s written comments came in a dissent Monday as the state high court denied an appeal filed by a group of felons who challenged a 1976 Louisiana law that barred felons on probation or parole from voting. While that case was on appeal, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law on May 31 a measure allowing felons who’ve been out of prison for five years, but remain on probation or parole, to register to vote.

Full Article: Louisiana Supreme Court chief justice says new law on felons voting doesn't go far enough | Courts | theadvocate.com.