It was a discomforting moment last week when a Princeton University computer science professor, in a series of PowerPoint slides, showed lawmakers how he had hacked the type of electronic voting machine most New Jersey counties use to conduct their elections. More jarring still, the professor, Andrew W. Appel, explained that if he manipulated a machine actually in use, election officials would be hard-pressed to detect it because the devices don’t leave a paper trail that can be checked against the electronic tally. “They’re a fatally flawed technology,” said Appel, who was previously involved in a lawsuit that sought to end the use of the machines. “Pretty much everyone knows this now.”
Articles about voting issues in New Jersey.
New Jersey lawmakers are considering whether the voting machines now used in the state should be replaced by a paper ballot system using electronic scanners. Princeton University computer science professor Andrew Appel says the voting machines are vulnerable to hacking. “So we should run our elections in a way that can detect and correct for computer hacking without having to put all our trust in computers. Therefore, we cannot use paperless touchscreen voting computers. They’re a fatally flawed technology.”
New Jersey: Poor Security of New Jersey Election System and Russian Hackers Prompt Move to Revamp | NJ Spotlight
Voting in New Jersey would go retro, using paper, pens and scanning machines, under legislation designed to increase the security of the ballot in the state. Not everyone who testified at the Assembly’s first hearing Wednesday on a new bill (A3991), called the New Jersey Elections Security Act could agree on what voting machines would be best. But all did agree that the state needs new voting machines with a paper trail to allow audits of election results to ensure their accuracy. “We must have an assurance that our votes are accurate and legitimate,” said Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic), both chair of the committee and co-sponsor of the bill. “Where is our democracy without our votes being valid?”
Lawmakers on the Assembly State and Local Government Committee heard once again just how good New Jersey’s election machine security is. “New Jersey was one of 12 states to receive a ‘D,’” said Danielle Root, a voting rights manager from the Center for American Progress. Root was one of several election experts to highlight a key deficiency: relying on touch screen election machines that leave no paper record of votes. “Although it’s good that New Jersey adheres to cybersecurity best practices related to voter registration systems, including training election officials and partnering with DHS [Department of Homeland Security] to perform vulnerability assessments on election infrastructure, the state, as the chairman mentioned earlier, continues to use paperless electronic voting machines,” said Root.
Although the state’s voting machines aren’t linked to the internet, experts warn that gives officials a false sense of security. What’s needed are machines that deliver a paper audit trail of every vote. The hacking of election results, rumored to have occurred in 2016 and feared to be possible now and in the future, can happen here, say experts. They worry that New Jersey’s current voting process is vulnerable, and the state’s ballot system has been graded among the least secure in the country. Still, the state’s chief election and security officials are confident in the integrity of New Jersey’s voting procedures. Since voting machines are not connected to the Internet, they believe there is no cause for concern. They have no plans to replace equipment that were put into service 15 years ago or longer. Despite this, some legislators and advocacy groups are not convinced. They point out the voting machines in use are relatively antiquated and do not meet recommendations of national experts.
New Jersey: State Working To Bolster Cybersecurity Of New Jersey Election Systems | Jersey Shore Online
The New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, through its New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, are working to reaffirm the state’s commitment to election security. New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said that they are participating in training sessions, constructing interagency communication channels, and integrating practices to strengthen the security of elections in NJ. “The Division of Elections has been and continues to work with federal partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and other third-party security experts to continuously improve our security posture as the threat landscape evolves. The Department of State is working to ensure that every individual able to cast a ballot in November can do so knowing the state affords a safe and secure system,” said Way.
Democratic Governor Phil Murphy made New Jersey the latest U.S. state with automatic voter registration at motor-vehicle agencies as mid-term elections loom in November. The legislation was sponsored by Democrats and backed by civic groups that said it would ease a paperwork burden and increase election participation. Republicans in New Jersey, like some elsewhere in the country, said it was a gateway to fraud, with the potential to allow undocumented immigrants to vote. New Jersey’s bill passed both legislative houses along party lines on April 13. Murphy’s predecessor, Republican Chris Christie, vetoed versions in 2016 and 2015, saying the Democratic-led legislature was attempting to increase voter rolls in its favor.
New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday passed legislation expanding automatic voter registration in the state. The “motor bill” passed the state Assembly, 50-23, and the state Senate, 24-13. The legislation makes it so individuals will be automatically registered unless they opt out of the process. If signed as expected by Gov. Phil Murphy (D), New Jersey would be home to one of the most widespread automatic voter registration programs in the U.S.
New Jersey lawmakers are proposing a bill that would make the state the third in the country to allow prisoners the right to vote. The bill would let people who are incarcerated, on parole and under probation supervision vote, a change supporters say is critical to addressing racial disparities in New Jersey’s criminal justice system. Under current law, New Jersey residents can’t vote if they are incarcerated or on parole or probation. About 94,000 people currently fall into these categories, according to state officials. Shavonda Sumter, a state assemblywoman from Paterson, N.J., said black residents make up a disproportionate share of the state’s prison population—and stripping them of their voting rights violates constitutional protections that that say people can’t be prevented from voting based on their race.
Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer testified there were no signs keeping Republican National Committee staff members away from Donald Trump’s vote-counting operations on Election Night, but party officials knew to keep their distance. “It had been abundantly clear for the six years that I worked at the RNC that the RNC and its employees were prohibited from engaging in Election Day activities, including poll watching, so I intentionally stayed away from all of that,” said Spicer, then a top Republican National Committee official. Spicer’s testimony came as the Republican National Committee sought to end limits on its voter activities imposed 35 years ago as a result of GOP activities in the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial election narrowly won by Thomas H. Kean. That consent decree expired Dec. 1, but Democrats are seeking to extend it.