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Georgia: Amid budget cuts, Georgia pays $432,000 a year to keep old Diebold voting machines in storage | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As Georgia is preparing for deep budget cuts, the state government is paying $432,000 a year to store 30,000 voting machines that will never be used again. An attorney for the secretary of state’s office now says it will likely go to court to try to destroy the obsolete voting machines, which are locked in a warehouse because of a lawsuit over election security.The 18-year-old touchscreens, called direct-recording electronic voting machines, were replaced this year by a voting system that uses new touchscreens and also prints out paper ballots.“Continuing to preserve the DREs at a significant cost to Georgia taxpayers in times of national crisis for state budgets across the country is wasteful and unnecessary,” according to a May 9 letter from Bryan Tyson, an attorney for the state, to plaintiffs in the lawsuit.Negotiations to dispose of the outdated voting equipment have stalled in federal court.The Georgia voters behind the lawsuit want to preserve some of the old voting machines for inspection, allowing them to find out whether the machines were infected by viruses or malware, which they allege could have spread to the state’s replacement voting system. The secretary of state’s office has said the new voting system is secure and independent from its previous machinery.

Full Article: Obsolete voting machines cost Georgia $432,000 amid budget cuts.

Georgia: Secretary of State ‘fed up’ with storing old voting machines | Claire Simms/FOX 5 Atlanta

As state leaders look for ways to slash their budgets in the wake of the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger finds one line item in his budget particularly troubling. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, they currently pay $36,000 per month, which adds up to $432,000 per year, to warehouse the state’s now retired electronic voting machines. “I’m tired of it and I’m fed up and I think taxpayers should be fed up,” Sec. Raffensperger said Friday. The old hardware lies at the center of an ongoing legal battle between the state and several voting and election transparency groups, who sued claiming the machines, and thus Georgians’ votes, were not secure. In an order last November, a United States District Court judge directed the state to “preserve all GEMS servers, DREs, memory cards, AccuVote scanners, and Express Poll books until further order of the Court in the event a forensic examination is deemed necessary at some point for purposes of this litigation.”

Full Article: Georgia Sec. of State 'fed up' with storing old voting machines | FOX 5 Atlanta.

Mississippi: Secretary of state’s visit brings up question of potential paper ballot switch | Ray Van Dusen/Monroe Journal

Newly elected Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson has embarked on a listening tour through all of the state’s 82 counties to gather concerns from circuit clerks and election commissioners. He made his Monroe County visit March 9, and one of the talking points was the potential of mandated paper ballots for elections. While he is unsure of what the future may hold with electronic versus paper ballots, Monroe County Circuit Clerk Dana Sloan later said she is preparing if it is mandated. “If it comes through a federal mandate, it would come with funds. I’ve heard rumors of a potential push from Washington about a mandate to bring back paper ballots, but nothing is confirmed. Right now, I just heard there was a possibility but I want to gather as much information as I can to be prepared in case it happens,” she said. Monroe County switched from paper ballots to electronic TSX voting machines in 2006. A ballpark estimate for one scanner at each of Monroe County’s 26 voting precincts and four additional scanners at the four largest ones to tabulate paper ballot results is $285,000.

Full Article: Secretary of state’s visit brings up question of potential paper ballot switch | News | djournal.com.

National: ‘Election Software I Hacked In 2005 Is Still In Use’: Cyber Security Expert Harri Hursti On 2020 Presidential Election | CBS

The presidential election is less than eight months away and New York resident and cybersecurity expert Hari Hursti is already sounding the horn about potential issues with voting machines around the country. The computer hacker has been studying election interference and the problems with voting technology since the mid 2000s, and his new HBO documentary “Kill Chain: The Cyber Wars On America’s Election” demonstrates that not much has changed in the past decade. “If someone tried to explain to me everything I learned in the last 15 years, I wouldn’t believe them” said Hursti in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “The most frightening thing is that from 2006 to now, nothing changed. The actual software that I hacked in 2005 is still in use. Those machines are still in 20 states. They’re still around. Everything is so outdated and it is so hard to make people understand the reality that this needs to be fixed or things will be getting worse.”

Full Article: ‘Software I Hacked In 2005 Is Still In Use’: Cyber Security Expert Harri Hursti On 2020 Presidential Election – CBS New York.

Tennessee: ‘Complex’ process ahead for new Shelby County voting machines | Bill Dries/The Daily Memphian

The Shelby County Election Commission is working toward a debut of new voting machines when early voting begins in July for the Aug. 6 election, but the commission still must select a  specific system. “The process is winding its way through purchasing. It’s a pretty complex project. It has many moving parts,” Shelby County elections administrator Linda Phillips said on The Daily Memphian Politics Podcast. “We can’t get the new machines until we have a place to put the old machines and get rid of them,” she said. “In moving to paper, we then have to have secure storage. So there have to be modifications to our warehouse. There are a lot of moving parts to this project, and we are doing it as fast as we can.” Whatever system the commission picks will involve the use of paper ballots in some way – either paper ballots that are marked by the voter or a printout of choices a voter makes on updated touchscreen machines. In both cases, the paper ballots would be run through a digital scanner and go into a ballot box as an audit trail.

Full Article: 'Complex' process ahead for new voting machines - The Daily Memphian.

Tennessee: Out with the old, in with the new: decisions are being made about new voting machines for Shelby County | Mike Matthews/Local Memphis

Of course, by now, you know Tuesday is SuperTuesday – a big election day. <>And you’re going to be using the same old voting machines we’ve used for the last 10 or 15 years or so. But changes are a coming. At the Shelby County Elections Warehouse, the Diebold voting machines are lined up, as if ready to be shot at sunrise. That’s what some folks think should happen to them. During a news conference last fall, former Memphis State Representative Mike Kernell said, “These machines are very old. They (Shelby County Election Commissioners) admit it – they’re old. All over the country these machines aren’t working well.” Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner was once the head of the local Democratic Party, and heard complaint after complaint about them.

Full Article: Out with the old, in with the new: decisions are being made about new voting machines for Shelby County | localmemphis.com.

Tennessee: Shelby County Commission scrambling to move millions to purchase new voting machines | Kendall Downing/WMC

Shelby County Commissioners said Wednesday they’re being forced to move money to fund new voting machines in time for this fall’s presidential election. The last-minute effort comes after the initial plan to pay for the machines through capital improvement funds hit a major roadblock. Last week, county attorney Marcy Ingram revealed a 50-year-old provision would require a county-wide referendum vote for county officials to be able to purchase new voting machines with capital improvement dollars. “It’s really critical we get the funding in place by this Monday that will not require a referendum,” said Mark Billingsley, Shelby County Commission Chairman. Billingsley said commissioners are exploring their funding options quickly. The leading thought at this time includes moving roughly $7.2 mllion from an emergency fund to pay for the new voting machines. It’s expected the state of Tennessee will reimburse $2.4 million. If commissioners wanted to buy the machines with capital improvement funds, as initially planned, they’d have to put the issue to voters.The referendum would delay the purchase date, likely missing November’s election.

Full Article: Shelby County Commission scrambling to move millions to purchase new voting machines.

Tennessee: Ballot Bombshell: Election Machine Issue In Shelby County Becomes Moot | Jackson Baker/Memphis News and Events | Memphis Flyer

Some drama was expected, but nothing like the more-than-audible gasp that exuded from the audience at Monday’s meeting of the Shelby County Commission, when Tami Sawyer articulated what was suddenly and shockingly becoming obvious: “There will be no new machines in 2020,” said Sawyer, summarizing it all in an epiphany after an hour or so of intense debate and argument on both sides of the speakers’ dock regarding what sort of new voting machines the county should get in its long-planned buy in time for the August election cycle locally. County Election Coordinator Linda Phillips had been making and repeating that promise of new machines for most of the last year, kindling up an ever-growing local controversy as to which type of machine. On Sunday she had published a viewpoint in The Commercial Appeal in which the following two sentences were the key ones: “Now that we are about to replace our outdated voting equipment, the controversy has reached the boiling point. I have spent my career conducting elections, and I’d like to share my viewpoint.”

Full Article: Ballot Bombshell: Election Machine Issue Becomes Moot | Politics Feature | Memphis News and Events | Memphis Flyer.

Tennessee: Shelby County leaders scrambling for Plan B after surprise announcement on purchase of new voting machines | Brad Broders/WATN

After a surprise announcement Monday night that they’ll be no new voting machines in Shelby County this fall as expected, people are annoyed. Now, county commissioners must figure out when to put a question on how to buy new machines on an upcoming voter referendum. The Shelby County Election Commission will meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss the next steps. For supporters of new voter machines, the shocking development left them frustrated after years of problems with the current touch screen devices. “It really puts Shelby County and our elections in a little bit of a tailspin,” Shelby County Commission Chairman Mark Billingsley said. Billingsley was still reeling from the bombshell announcement Monday night, that there’d be no new voting machines for the November presidential election. “I was hoping with the new voter machines and a new process, we could regain some voter confidence in Shelby County,” Billingsley said.

Full Article: Shelby County leaders scrambling for Plan B after surprise announcement on purchase of new voting machines | WATN - Local 24.

Tennessee: No new voting machines in Shelby County for the November election | Rudy Williams/WATN

A shocker from the Shelby County Commission Monday. Turns out there will be no new voting machines as promised for the November election. For now, those problem-riddled touch screen machines aren’t going anywhere. This surprising turn came as commissioners were expected to approve a resolution urging the Shelby County Election Commission to buy hand-marked ballot machines instead of computer based machines. Advocates say hand-marked ballots are the best way to ensure elections in Shelby County this November are secure, but tonight nobody can say which machines the county will buy or even when. There will be no new machines in 2020. No one could believe it when Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer made the announcement especially advocates like Erika Sugarmon. “I am disheartened that we will not have new voting machines. This is a very serious year,” said Sugarmon. “They’ve had years to deal with this and find the funding. Why are voters just hearing about the funding.”

Full Article: No new voting machines in Shelby County for the November election | WATN - Local 24.

Tennessee: Sixth Circuit affirms dismissal of Shelby County voting machine lawsuit | Bill Dries/The Daily Memphian

A federal appeals court has agreed with a Memphis federal court decision tossing out a case seeking to do away with the touchscreen voting machines used in Shelby County elections. The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a ruling released Friday, Jan. 24, affirmed the earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker to dismiss the lawsuit by the group Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections – or SAVE – based on a lack of standing by the plaintiffs. SAVE sued the Shelby County Election Commission, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins. The group has also been pushing the election commission to move away from computers entirely to a system of hand-marked paper ballots that would be run through an optical scanner for tabulating. The election commission is considering a new voting system that could be in place this election year. And election commissioners have looked at voting systems that use a touchscreen machine but include a paper audit trail – a printout for a voter to proofread and then put in a ballot box once they complete the voting process.

Full Article: Sixth Circuit affirms dismissal of voting machine lawsuit - The Daily Memphian.

Tennessee: Voting Machines Challenged at Sixth Circuit | Kevin Koeninger/Couthouse News

An elections advocacy group urged a Sixth Circuit panel Tuesday to reinstate its case against the Tennessee Election Commission based on claims that one county’s electronic voting machines and software have created an inherently insecure system. Shelby County Advocates for Valid Elections, or SAVE, and several individual voters sued Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, the state’s election commission and the Shelby County Election Commission five days before early voting began in Shelby County for the November 2018 election. SAVE alleged the AccuVote-TSx R7 direct-recording electronic voting machines and Diebold GEMS voting software utilized by Shelby County fail to meet statutory requirements because they do not create a “voter verified paper audit trail,” and store votes solely on removable memory cards. The group’s complaint alleged election results are subject to manipulation because of their digital-only nature, which could result in the disenfranchisement of voters in the county with the state’s largest black population.

Full Article: Tennessee Voting Machines Challenged at Sixth Circuit.

Tennessee: Likely no paper trail for voting in Memphis on Super Tuesday | Jonathan Mattise/Associated Press

Tennessee’s largest county probably won’t have new voting machines that create a voter-verifiable paper trail in place for the presidential primary election on March 3, an attorney for the state said Tuesday. Janet Kleinfelter of the Tennessee attorney general’s office discussed the timeline to implement the new machines in Memphis-anchored Shelby County during a federal appellate court hearing Tuesday. The hearing involved a lawsuit that has challenged the security of Shelby County’s voting machines. Kleinfelter said the machines will be in place by August, when state and federal primaries are held. Previously, Shelby County Elections Administrator Linda Phillips’ office said the goal was to start using the machines in the Super Tuesday elections. Shelby County commissioners have approved funding for the machines, which are expected to cost $10 million to $12 million. The county is now going through the procurement process, Kleinfelter said.

Full Article: Likely no paper trail for voting in Memphis on Super Tuesday.

Indiana: Machines reportedly switching votes plagues Indiana county for second straight election | Owen Daugherty/The Hill

Voting machines reportedly switching people’s choices have troubled a county in Indiana for the second consecutive election. Tippecanoe County experienced issues with machines switching people’s selections on Election Day on Tuesday at multiple locations, according to the Lafayette Post & Courier. Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush was notified by a voter who called in saying their selection on a voting machine at a local polling location would be changed by the machine, which would mark an “X” for someone other than the candidate the voter wanted. Roush said she checked the calibration on three different voting machines after receiving a call. Robert Kurtz, a resident of West Lafayette who went to vote Tuesday, recorded a video of a touch screen on a voting machine that would not record the proper selection. “When I touched a square next to a candidate’s name, the machine selected the square for the candidate above,” Kurtz told the new outlet. “If I touched the square for the candidate at the top of the list, nothing happened.”

Full Article: Machines reportedly switching votes plagues Indiana county for second straight election | TheHill.

Tennessee: Federal judge dismisses voting security lawsuit in Tennessee | Adrian Sainz/Associated Press

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday challenging the security of voting machines in Tennessee’s largest county and calling for a switch to a handwritten ballot and a voter-verifiable paper trial. U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker ruled that the lawsuit filed by a group of Shelby County voters in October 2018 failed to show that any harm has come to the plaintiffs and that they have no standing to bring the suit. Attorney Carol Chumney sued on claims that the outdated touchscreen voting machines used by Shelby County are not secure because they do not produce a voter-verifiable paper trail, and security checks and other safeguards are needed to protect the system from outside manipulation. Chumney wanted the county election commission to let outside experts examine its election management software and report any evidence of hacking, possible editing of votes cast or unauthorized software to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The suit questioned the security and reliability of the voting machines and its software, provided by vendor Election Systems & Software. Advocates claim the software is obsolete and presents a risk to the election system. The suit also questioned the security of memory cards, computers, and modems used by the county. The lawsuit asked that the county replace its entire elections system ahead of this October’s municipal elections in Memphis with an optical scan system that uses hand-marked paper ballots. Chumney also asked that officials require Election Systems & Software to install advanced security sensors on their system and ask the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to perform risk and vulnerability assessments on electronic voting systems.

Full Article: Federal judge dismisses voting security lawsuit in Tennessee - Plainview Daily Herald.

Tennessee: Last of 2018 election lawsuits lingers with call for forensic audit of voting machines | Bill Dries/The Daily Memphian

The last lawsuit from a flurry of lawsuits filed over the conduct of 2018 elections in Shelby County still has some trace of life in it. The attorney for and members of the group SAVE – Shelby Advocates for Valid Elections – called Monday, outside of their pending court case, for a forensic audit of the touch-screen voting machines to be used in the Oct. 3 Memphis elections. The call comes just a few days ahead of Friday’s start of early voting across the city. “There needs to be some protection to the current election system we have for this next election,” said former state Representative and Shelby County Schools board member Mike Kernell. “These machines are in bad shape and we’ve recommended some new procedures.” Attorney Carol Chumney, representing SAVE in the federal lawsuit filed against county and state election officials in 2018, called specifically for forensic audits before and after the city elections.

Full Article: Last of 2018 election lawsuits lingers with call for forensic audit of voting machines - The Daily Memphian.

Georgia: Probe of missing Georgia votes finds “extreme” irregularities in black districts | Andrew O’Hehir/Salon

trove of documents turned over in a congressional probe of missing votes in Georgia’s lieutenant governor race — along with other voting issues — revealed serious irregularities. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is investigating whether voting machine errors caused a large drop-off in votes in the lieutenant governor race between Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico and Republican Geoff Duncan, who won the election by about 123,000 votes. The probe is looking at why so many fewer votes were recorded in the race compared to other statewide races, as well as the voter suppression issues that plagued the 2018 state elections. There were 159,000 fewer votes cast in the lieutenant governor race than in the gubernatorial race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. While it is common for down-ballot races to see fewer votes, the lieutenant governor race had twice as much drop-off as other statewide races, even though it was the second race on the ballot, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. There were 80,000 fewer votes cast for lieutenant governor than in other down-ballot races, which represents a 4 percent drop-off from the gubernatorial race, compared to a 2 percent drop-off among even less charismatic down-ballot races. For various reasons, this appears illogical. Historically, the lieutenant governor race has had a much lower drop-off rate than other statewide races in previous elections.

Full Article: Probe of missing Georgia votes finds "extreme" irregularities in black districts | Salon.com.

Georgia: Mystery of missing votes deepens as Congress investigates Georgia | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

To find a clue about what might have gone wrong with Georgia’s election last fall, look no further than voting machine No. 3 at the Winterville Train Depot outside Athens. On machine No. 3, Republicans won every race. On each of the other six machines in that precinct, Democrats won every race.The odds of an anomaly that large are less than 1 in 1 million, according to a statistician’s analysis in court documents. The strange results would disappear if votes for Democratic and Republican candidates were flipped on machine No. 3.It just so happens that this occurred in Republican Brian Kemp’s home precinct, where he initially had a problem voting when his yellow voter access card didn’t work because a poll worker forgot to activate it. At the time, Kemp was secretary of state — Georgia’s top election official — and running for governor in a tight contest with Democrat Stacey Abrams.The suspicious results in Winterville are evidence in the ongoing mystery of whether errors with voting machines contributed to a stark drop-off in votes recorded in the race for Georgia lieutenant governor between Republican Geoff Duncan, who ended up winning, and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico.Even though it was the second race on the ballot, fewer votes were counted for lieutenant governor than for labor commissioner, insurance commissioner and every other statewide contest lower on the ballot. Roughly 80,000 fewer votes were counted for lieutenant governor than in other down-ballot elections. The potential voting irregularities were included among 15,500 pages of documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that have also been turned over to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is looking into Georgia’s elections. The documents, provided under the Georgia Open Records Act, offer details of alleged voting irregularities but no answers.

Full Article: Allegations of missing votes in Georgia turned over to Congress.

Mississippi: ‘It’s a hell of a big mess:’: Malfunction allows improper party crossover voting | Sarah Fowler/Jackson Clarion Ledger

Voters who cast ballots for one party in the Aug. 6 primary may have improperly voted for a different party in Tuesday’s runoff due to machine malfunctions, according to the Hinds County GOP.  Pete Perry, Hinds County Republican Party chairman, said he was first alerted to an issue at Casey Elementary precinct around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday. The school is one of the 108 precincts in Hinds County. According to a poll worker, people who voted Democratic in the primary were allowed to vote in the Republican runoff, Perry said. A spokesperson for the Hinds County Election Commission could not be reached for comment. According to Perry, the “party lock” on machines provided by Election Systems and Software is not functioning. This means voters who cast a ballot for a Democratic candidate in the primary are being erroneously allowed to vote in the Republican runoff.  Mississippi has no party registration and is an open primary state. But if voters  vote for one party in the primary, they are only allowed to vote for that same party in a runoff. For example, if a voter voted on the Democratic ticket in August, they would not be allowed to vote in Tuesday’s Republican runoff for governor. However, Perry said, “we know that’s already happened.”

Full Article: MS runoff: Malfunction allows improper party crossover voting.

Mississippi: Video captures glitching Mississippi voting machines flipping votes | Lisa Vaas/Naked Security

“It is not letting me vote for who I want to vote for,” a Mississippi voter said in a video that shows him repeatedly pushing a button on an electronic touch-screen voting machine that keeps switching his vote to another candidate. Walker said in a comment that the incident happened in Oxford, Miss., in Lafayette County. A local paper, the Clarion Ledger, reported that as of Tuesday night, there were at least three reports confirmed by state elections officials of voting machines in two counties changing voters’ selections in the state’s GOP governor primary runoff. The machines were switching voters’ selections from Bill Waller Jr.- a former Supreme Court Chief justice – to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Waller’s campaign told the Clarion Ledger it also received reports of misbehaving voter machines in at least seven other counties. Waller conceded to Reeves around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night. With Reeves leading 54% to Waller’s 46%, it looks unlikely that the glitches affected the outcome. Before the malfunctioning machine was discovered in Lafayette County, the machine – reportedly a paperless AccuVote TSX from Diebold – only recorded 19 votes, according to Anna Moak, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office. A technician was dispatched, and the machine is being replaced, she said.

Full Article: Video captures glitching Mississippi voting machines flipping votes – Naked Security.