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Pennsylvania: Here’s who makes money from the voting machine requirement for Pennsylvania counties — and how those decisions are being made | Emily Previti & Ed Mahon|PA Post

As Jeff Frank strode out of his polling place on a recent Tuesday morning, poll watchers thanked him for voting. “Have a great day – enjoy the complaints as they come out the door,” Frank responded. Municipal elections tend to be relatively quiet – even in Montgomery, which consistently turns out a higher number of voters than any other county in the state but more-populous Philadelphia and Allegheny counties  But this year, several counties debuted new voting machines – and two, including Montgomery, went to an entirely different way of voting. “When I came and discovered what the process was, I said, okay, but it is ridiculous, a waste of time and will cause lines so long that people will not be here when the presidential election comes up,” Frank said. Other voters exiting the Temple Brith Achim Synagogue polling location in Upper Merion weren’t quite as animated over the switch from push-button machines to scannable paper ballots filled out by hand. “It’s even it’s better now that you actually get a confirmation ticket that your vote was cast. We never got that before,” said Tykia Turner.

Full Article: Here’s who makes money from the voting machine requirement for Pa. counties — and how those decisions are being made | PA Post.

National: Election tech vendors say they’re securing their systems. Does anyone believe them? | CyberScoop

The last few years have been an awakening for Election Systems & Software. Before 2016, very few people were publicly pressing the company to change the way it handled its cybersecurity practices. Now, the nation’s leading manufacturer of election technology has become a lightning rod for critics. Security experts say the small number of companies that dominate the nation’s election technology market, including ES&S, have failed to acknowledge and remedy vulnerabilities that lie in systems used to hold elections across the country. Once left to obscurity, the entire ecosystem has been called into question since the Russian government was found to have interfered with the 2016 presidential campaign. While there has never been any evidence to suggest that any voting machines were compromised, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI recently issued a memo that all 50 states were at least targeted by Russian intelligence. The peak of the criticism came after the Voting Village exhibition at the 2018 DEF CON security conference, where amateur hackers unearthed a bevy of flaws in the company’s tech. In a number of publications — including CyberScoop — ES&S disputed the notion that it didn’t take cybersecurity seriously, arguing its own due diligence was enough to satisfy any security worries. It didn’t help the Omaha, Nebraska-based company’s case when the Voting Village committee issued a report in September that found decades-old vulnerabilities in an ES&S ballot tabulator that has been used in elections in more than half of the states. In light of these issues, some of the election tech manufacturers are trying to change course, and ES&S is the most public about its efforts. With the country gearing up for the 2020 presidential election, the company has revamped its security testing procedures, putting together a plan to let penetration testers from both the public and private sector evaluate the safety of its systems. Furthermore, ES&S and its competitors are communicating in an unprecedented way about committing to a certain level of standards that can lift the entire industry to a better security baseline.

Full Article: Election tech vendors say they're securing their systems. Does anyone believe them?.

National: ‘They think they are above the law’: the firms that own America’s voting system | The Guardian

Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin is a newcomer to the cause of reforming America’s vote-counting machines, welcomed through baptism by fire. In 2015, Maryland’s main election system vendor was bought by a parent company with ties to a Russian oligarch. The state’s election officials did not know about the purchase until July 2018, when the FBI notified them of the potential conflict. The FBI investigated and did not find any evidence of tampering or sharing of voter data. But the incident was a giant red flag as to the potential vulnerabilities of American democracy – especially as many states have outsourced vote-counting to the private sector. After all, the purchase happened while Russian agents were mounting multiple disinformation and cybersecurity campaigns to interfere with America’s 2016 general election. “To say that they don’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing is not to say that nothing untoward happened,” Raskin said. “It’s simply to say that we don’t have the evidence of it.” The fact is that democracy in the United States is now largely a secretive and privately-run affair conducted out of the public eye with little oversight. The corporations that run every aspect of American elections, from voter registration to casting and counting votes by machine, are subject to limited state and federal regulation. The companies are privately-owned and closely held, making information about ownership and financial stability difficult to obtain. The software source code and hardware design of their systems are kept as trade secrets and therefore difficult to study or investigate.

Full Article: 'They think they are above the law': the firms that own America's voting system | US news | The Guardian.

Utah: Security on mind as state auditions new voting machines, software | Deseret News

Just last weekend, a long-running hackers convention in Las Vegas lined up a dozen U.S. electronic voting machines, many of which were obtained from government auctions and second-hand sources like eBay, and unleashed attendees on them. By the end of the weekend, all of the machines had been breached in one form or another. And while most of the equipment was somewhat out of date in terms of technology, a few of the models are still in use. DefCon 25 organizers said the exercise was about illustrating and helping address security vulnerabilities in the U.S. election system, a popular national conversation topic following allegations that are still under investigation of outside meddling in the 2016 election cycle. On Wednesday, another lineup of voting machines popped up at the Utah Capitol. This time, however, the event was aimed at giving members of the public an opportunity to audition some of the latest in voting technology as part of a state process to choose a new provider of voting equipment for county officials who operate Utah elections.

Full Article: Security on mind as state auditions new voting machines, software | Deseret News.

Editorials: Maryland voting audit falls short | Philip B. Stark & Poorvi L. Vora/Baltimore Sun

At the Board of Public Works Oct. 19th meeting, members passed without discussion a proposal by the State Board of Elections to pay Clear Ballot Group Inc. $275,000 for an “independent and automated solution to verify [the] accuracy” of the state’s election results. Seems reasonable, right? Especially now that the term “rigged” frequently precedes “election” in this year’s campaign rhetoric. The only problem is it won’t work. We have some experience to back this judgment: Between us, we have helped audit about 20 contests in several states and designed auditable voting systems. Methods developed by one of us are in laws in two states. It’s great that Maryland voters get to vote on paper ballots this year; paper ballots that voters can check are the best evidence of “the will of the people.” Maryland’s ballots will be scanned and then counted electronically. As required by hard-won state legislation passed in 2007, the paper ballots will be stored securely as durable evidence of what voters wanted.

Full Article: Maryland voting audit falls short - Baltimore Sun.

Canada: Voting-machine salesman barred from contacting city hall over lobbying infringement | Ottawa Citizen

An American voting-machine salesman has been barred from contacting anyone at Ottawa City Hall for a month, the city’s integrity commissioner announced Tuesday, imposing his first discipline ever under Ottawa’s lobbying rules. Bill Murphy is the director of sales for Boston-based Clear Ballot, which sells equipment for running elections. Integrity commissioner Robert Marleau has forbidden Ottawa’s city government from having anything to do with him until mid-March, on the grounds that Murphy lobbied the city to buy Clear Ballot’s machines and software without registering as a lobbyist as the city’s bylaws require. The city’s lobbying registry has been in effect since September 2012. If you’re trying to get the city to make a decision that’s to your financial benefit, generally speaking, you need to record any contacts with city officials using a website Marleau oversees.

Full Article: Voting-machine salesman barred from contacting city hall over lobbying infringement | Ottawa Citizen.

Press Release: Clear Ballot Expands Senior Leadership Team; Election Technology Company names Jordan Esten as COO and Edwin Smith as Vice President, Products | Clear Ballot

Today Clear Ballot signaled that the company is poised for further growth by naming Jordan Esten as the company’s Chief Operating Officer and Edwin Smith as Vice President, Products.

“I am very pleased to announce Jordan as our COO and Ed as Vice President, Products,” said Larry Moore, CEO of Clear Ballot. “Both of these individuals have contributed significantly to Clear Ballot’s expansion and the creation and launch of our innovative election technology into the marketplace.”

Jordan Esten developed his expertise in guiding technology companies through important stages of growth as an investment banker at Robert W. Baird where he held positions in both Europe and the US. In that role, he advised management and boards of directors of technology companies on corporate strategy, mergers & acquisitions, and equity offerings. Esten earned a BS, from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. At Clear Ballot, where Esten previously served as Director of Business Development since 2012, he applied his critical operational and project finance experience to expand Clear Ballot’s team of employees and investors.

Full Article: IT News Online > PR Newswire - Clear Ballot Expands Senior Leadership Team; Election Technology Company names Jordan Esten as COO and Edwin Smith as Vice President, Products.

Press Release: Clear Ballot is market leading voting system provider in Oregon with 42% of registered voters using its technology | Clear Ballot

Clear Ballot entered into purchasing agreements with three election jurisdictions in Oregon over the past month making ClearVote the leader in Oregon voting system market share in just over six months since becoming certified by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office in May 2015.

Seven counties, including new Clear Ballot customers Klamath, Coos, and Washington Counties represent 42% of Oregon’s 2.2 million registered voters. These three counties join Multnomah, Josephine, Harney and Linn Counties who have already elected to use ClearVote to increase the efficiency and transparency of their election processes.

Multnomah, Josephine and Linn Counties successfully implemented ClearVote for the November 3rd elections. Oregon voters in all seven of the aforementioned counties will be using ClearVote in the upcoming May 2016 elections.

Press Release: Clear Ballot Pilots New Voting System in Adams County, Colorado | Clear Ballot

Clear Ballot, in partnership with the Adams County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, will be piloting its ClearVote voting system Monday, November 2, at 10:00 am. The system has been certified for use in the evaluation process for Colorado’s Uniform Voting System, an ongoing project that the Secretary of State’s office began in 2014. Clear Ballot’s ClearVote certification was the result of an extensive and successful testing campaign at Pro V&V, a federally accredited voting systems test laboratory.

Full Article: Press Release: Clear Ballot Pilots New Voting System in Adams County, Colorado | Clear Ballot.

Press Release: Clear Ballot Voting System Increases Efficiency and Transparency in Elections in Colorado and Oregon | Clear Ballot

Election jurisdictions in Colorado and Oregon successfully conducted elections using Clear Ballot’s ClearVote voting system on November 3rd, improving the efficiency and transparency of their election processes. The ClearVote voting system has provided election officials with an easy and intuitive ballot layout process, a tabulation and reporting system that scans ballots with commercial off-the-shelf scanners and gives election officials a complete digital database of the election that includes visual verification of all votes.  ClearVote’s digital inventory of the election also reduces ballot handling and potential errors. ClearVote was certified for use in the state of Colorado during the live election evaluation phase of Colorado’s Uniform Voting System process, an ongoing project that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office began in 2014. Clear Ballot’s ClearVote system was successfully used in Adams and Gilpin Counties in Colorado during the November 3rd elections as part of this evaluation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Adams County, Colorado Clerk and Recorder Stan Martin stated that his county now has a much more efficient voting process in place through the County’s use of the ClearVote system. “The use of Clear Ballot’s voting system saved us 5,350 work hours and approximately $60,000 in comparison to the time and money spent during our last election,” said Martin. “5,600 ballots had to be manually processed through our old system, but through the ClearVote system, this process is managed digitally, significantly increasing our efficiency.”

Press Release: Clear Ballot Pilots New Voting System in Adams County, Colorado | PR Newswire

Clear Ballot, in partnership with the Adams County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, will be piloting its ClearVote voting system Monday, November 2, at 10:00 am. The system has been certified for use in the evaluation process for Colorado’s Uniform Voting System, an ongoing project that the Secretary of State’s office began in 2014. Clear Ballot’s ClearVote certification was the result of an extensive and successful testing campaign at Pro V&V, a federally accredited voting systems test laboratory. “We are excited to work with Clear Ballot as part of the state’s efforts to bring innovative technology to Colorado,” said Adams County Clerk Stan Martin. “New technology like ClearVote demonstrates how transparency will transform the election results process in Colorado and, most importantly, increase voter confidence.”

Full Article: IT News Online > PR Newswire - Clear Ballot Pilots New Voting System in Adams County, Colorado.

Press Release: Clear Ballot Pilots ClearVote, Voting System Technology in Gilpin County, Colorado | Clear Ballot

Clear Ballot will be piloting its voting system technology, ClearVote, in Gilpin County, Colorado this election. This will be the second time Gilpin County has piloted Clear Ballot software – Clear Ballot worked with Gilpin in December 2014. Since the first pilot the Clear Vote system has been certified for use in the evaluation process for Colorado’s Uniform Voting System, an ongoing project that the Secretary of State’s office began in 2014. Clear Ballot’s ClearVote certification was the result of an extensive and successful testing campaign at Pro V&V, a federally accredited voting systems test laboratory.

Full Article: Press Release: Clear Ballot Pilots ClearVote, Voting System Technology in Gilpin County, Colorado | Clear Ballot.

Colorado: Adams County looks to improve vote-counting after difficult election | The Denver Post

Newly sworn Adams County Clerk Stan Martin is determined to avoid the problems and embarassment his office experienced in November, when the county was the last in the state to report its election results. The indecision about the victor in Adams County’s closely contested Senate District 24 race led to three tortured days of speculation over which party had secured control of the state Senate. “Any time you’re feeding ballots one at a time through a scanner and you’ve got 127,000 ballots to put through, you’re going to have problems,” Martin said of the voting machines the county uses.

Full Article: Adams County looks to improve vote-counting after difficult election - The Denver Post.

Colorado: Williams changes election rules | Colorado Springs Independent

Secretary of State Wayne Williams is setting new ground rules for Colorado elections. “We are making careful preparations for the 2016 election cycle in order to ensure Colorado sets the standard for access and integrity,” Williams stated in a press release. The changes include the establishment of a Bipartisan Election Advisory Committee that will work to ensure that elections are accessible and fair. The new rules also aim to up security for third-party personal delivery of ballots and clarify the appointment of election watchers. Military members and civilians who are overseas have been allowed to turn in ballots electronically if the area they are in has unreliable mail service. Under the new rules, electronic voting will only be allowed if there is no other feasible way to get a ballot in on time, and the electronic voter will need to sign an affirmation stating that they understand that rule.

Oregon: Ballot scanner to ‘revolutionize’ Oregon vote tally | KOIN

A new vote tabulation system in Multnomah County will “completely revolutionize the way we process ballots,” said the county’s election director Tim Scott. On Tuesday, the county unveiled the ClearVote system which will scan both sides of a ballot at once and then create an image. The system will also be able to count about 4000 ballots an hour instead of the current pace of 1000 per hour. If there is a questions over a voter’s intent, a bipartisan group will work to determine what the voter meant, and do it in a separate room.

Full Article: Ballot scanner to 'revolutionize' Oregon vote tally.

Press Release: Clear Ballot Brings Next Generation Voting System Technology to Multnomah and Josephine Counties, Oregon | Clear Ballot

Clear Ballot announced today that Multnomah and Josephine Counties have both chosen ClearVote for a next-generation voting system. Both counties are leaders in election innovation, adopting the newest voting technology in the industry. Oregon is the first state to adopt a software-based voting system, leading the rest of the country in the direction of efficient and modern elections. Clear Ballot software is designed to bring greater accuracy and transparency to elections with a new class of tools for election officials.

Full Article: Press Release: Clear Ballot Brings Next Generation Voting System Technology to Multnomah and Josephine Counties, Oregon | Clear Ballot.

Florida: Leon County among first to automatically audit election | Tallahassee Democrat

With essentially the press of a button, Leon County became one of the first counties in the nation to conduct an independent, automatic audit of election results. In the past, the Supervisor of Elections Office was required to audit a randomly selected precinct and race as part of a post-election, state-mandated audit. The manual audits would take days to complete using temporary workers and result in audits that were not statistically reliable, said Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho. But on Wednesday, the elections office used new technology called ClearAudit, developed by a Boston-based company called Clear Ballot, to audit 100 percent of the Aug. 26 primary-election results in just moments. Florida is the first state in the nation to allow the use of the technology for audits, and Leon County was among the first four counties in the state to use it. The others are Bay, Putnam and St. Lucie counties.

Full Article: Leon County among first to automatically audit election.

National: New Election System Promises to Help Catch Voting-Machine Problems | Wired

When voting system activists in the U.S. managed to get many paperless electronic voting machines replaced a few years ago with optical-scan machines that use paper ballots, some believed elections would become more transparent and verifiable. But a spate of problems with optical-scan machines used in elections across the country have shown that the systems are just as much at risk of dropping ballots and votes as touchscreen voting machines, either due to intentional manipulation or unintentional human error. A new election system promises to resolve that issue by giving election officials the ability to independently and swiftly audit the performance of their optical-scan machines. Called Clear Ballot, the system is patterned in part after an auditing system that was used in California in 2008. It uses high-speed commercial scanners made by Fujitsu, as well as software developed by the Clear Ballot team, which includes a former developer who worked under Ray Ozzie to create Lotus Notes.

Full Article: New Election System Promises to Help Catch Voting-Machine Problems | WIRED.