In 2015, the Brennan Center for Justice conducted a major study on voting machine security that found most states were relying on dangerously outdated hardware and software, leaving them vulnerable to hackers while doing little to provide for accurate post-election auditing. On March 8, 2018, the center released an update to that report and found that not much has changed. Jurisdictions in 41 states are using voting systems at least a decade out of date going into the 2018 elections, barely an improvement from the 2015 study, when 44 states reported long-obsolete voting tech. The number of states in which election officials said they must replace voting equipment by 2020 actually increased, from 31 in 2015 to 33 in 2018.
The new findings underscore how — despite the increased attention that election security has received from experts, the media and Congress following the 2016 election — that buzz has not necessarily translated to substantive action.
Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and an author of both the 2015 and 2018 reports, told FCW that it’s not all bad news.
The report cites the increasing role of federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the Election Assistance Commission as positive post-election developments. Norden and his co-authors say that trend will continue, whether state and local governments like it or not.