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.
Vermont: Ethical Hackers Breach Vermont Voting Machines, But Officials Say No Need To Panic | Peter Hirschfeld/Vermont Public Radio
Elections security experts have discovered new ways to manipulate the type of voting machine used in Vermont, but local elections officials say it’s unlikely that bad actors could exploit those vulnerabilities to change the results of an election. At a recent technology conference in Las Vegas, ethical hackers from across the country tried to infiltrate some of the voting machines used in U.S. elections. Probing for vulnerabilities in ballot tabulators is an annual tradition at the DEF CON Hacking Conference. This year, however, hackers tried to gain access to the same type of voting machine used by 135 towns in Vermont. Montpelier City Clerk John Odum retrieved one of the machines from a vault last week and placed it on a desk in his office. It’s a pretty ancient-looking piece of technology — like something you might have seen in a middle school computer room in the early 1990s. “As I understand it, the memory cards that we use, the technology was originally developed for the original Tandy laptops,” Odum said, “so this is some old stuff.” The machine is called an AccuVote, and its name is clearly meant to inspire confidence in the results it spits out. But when white-hat hackers set to work on this tabulator at DEF CON earlier this month, they quickly found all kinds of ways to manipulate results.Full Article: Ethical Hackers Breach Vermont Voting Machines, But Officials Say No Need To Panic | Vermont Public Radio.
Georgia: Judge blasts Georgia officials’ handling of election system | Kate Brumback/Associated Press
Georgia election officials have for years ignored, downplayed and failed to address serious problems with the state’s election management system and voting machines, a federal judge said in a scathing order this week. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg said those problems place a burden on citizens’ rights to cast a vote and have it reliably counted. She called Georgia’s voting system “antiquated, seriously flawed, and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination, and attack.” Despite those findings, Totenberg ruled Thursday that Georgia voters will use that same election system this fall because of concerns about the state’s capacity to make an interim switch while also implementing a new system. Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Georgia’s system had asked Totenberg to order an immediate switch to hand-marked paper ballots for special and municipal elections this fall. But she declined, citing worries about the state’s capacity to manage an interim switch while also implementing a new system that is supposed to be in place for the March 24 presidential primaries. ″(T)he totality of evidence in this case reveals that the Secretary of State’s efforts in monitoring the security of its voting systems have been lax at best — a clear indication that Georgia’s computerized election system is vulnerable in actual use,” Totenberg wrote in a 153-page ruling that devotes considerable space to chronicling those shortcomings.Full Article: Judge blasts Georgia officials' handling of election system.
Connecticut: Chief elections official says Connecticut’s electronic voting machines are ‘coming to the end of their useful life’ | Mark Pazniokas/CT Mirror
Connecticut’s current system of casting and counting votes has its roots in the chaotic presidential election of 2000. With the winner unclear for a month, it was a frightening moment in U.S. politics that led to a bipartisan consensus about the need to maintain confidence in the integrity of elections. Passage of the federal Help Americans Vote Act in 2002 established broad standards for the conduct of elections and provided funding for new hardware, leading Connecticut in 2006 to abandon its old mechanical lever voting machines for a mix of the old and new — paper ballots counted by computer-driven tabulators. “We fortunately made the right choice,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Wednesday. A proposed Voter Empowerment Act now before Congress would make hybrid systems like Connecticut’s the new federal standard: Using computers to quickly count votes, while maintaining paper ballots as a check on computer hacking and other forms of cyber fraud. President Trump recently endorsed paper ballots on Twitter. But as Merrill and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal made clear Wednesday at a press conference on elections security, the technical and political challenges in protecting U.S. elections are far more complex today than in the aftermath of the Florida recount in the Bush-Gore campaign of 2000. Blumenthal arrived at Merrill’s state Capitol office with his right arm in a sling. He had surgery last week for a torn rotator cuff.Full Article: Chief elections official says Connecticut’s electronic voting machines are ‘coming to the end of their useful life’ - Hartford Courant.
Georgia: Judge Says Georgia To Use Old Electronic Voting Machines For 2019 Elections | Stephen Fowler/NPR
A federal judge has denied a request to move all of this fall’s municipal elections in Georgia away from “unsecure, unreliable and grossly outdated technology” and toward hand-marked paper ballots that are optically scanned and counted. The order from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg Thursday also requires the state to cease using its direct-recording electronic voting machines after 2019 and expresses doubts about the state’s ability to roll out its new ballot-marking device system in time for the March 24, 2020, presidential primary election. In the decision, Totenberg also directs the Georgia secretary of state’s office to develop a plan to “address errors and discrepancies in the voter registration database” and have paper copies of poll books at each voting precinct. The state must also create a contingency plan for the 2020 elections in case the new system is not completely rolled out. That includes designating several pilot jurisdictions that will use hand-marked paper ballots with optical scanners in their elections this fall. A group of election integrity advocates and Georgia voters sued the secretary of state’s office in 2017 alleging that the current DRE system is not secure and is vulnerable to hacking. Last year, Totenberg denied a similar motion for preliminary injunction that would have blocked the DREs from being used in the 2018 midterm election. The current motion sought to prevent the machines from being used this fall in several hundred local elections.Full Article: Judge Says Georgia To Use Old Electronic Voting Machines For 2019 Elections : NPR.
Georgia: Judge denies paper ballots in Georgia this year but requires them in 2020 | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A federal judge ruled Thursday that Georgia voters can cast ballots on the state’s “unsecure, unreliable and grossly outdated” electronic voting machines one last time, deciding it would be too disruptive to switch to paper ballots before this fall’s elections. But starting with next year’s presidential primary election, paper ballots will be required, according to the ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg. Her order barred the state from using its current electronic voting machines after this year’s elections.Election officials are already planning to upgrade the state’s voting system by buying $107 million in new equipment that will use a combination of touchscreens and printed-out paper ballots to check the accuracy of election results.If the state’s new voting system isn’t completely rolled out to all 159 counties in time for the March 24 presidential primary, Totenberg ruled that voters must use paper ballots filled out by hand. “Georgia’s current voting equipment, software, election and voter databases are antiquated, seriously flawed and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination and attack,” Totenberg wrote. Totenberg wrote it would be “unwise” to immediately discard the state’s 17-year-old voting machines, which lack paper ballots that could be used to check the accuracy of election results. She wrote that it could be “a recipe for disaster” to force resistant election officials to switch to hand-marked paper ballots this year while they’re also transitioning to the state’s new voting system. Her 153-page ruling clears the way for 386 local elections to move forward as planned this fall, including votes for the Atlanta school board, the Fulton County Commission and city councils across the state.Full Article: Judge rules against immediate switch to paper ballots in Georgia.
Mississippi: Recovered thumb drive puts Newman ahead after DeLano claimed victory in District 50 race | Alyssa Newton/Biloxi Sun Herald
The District 50 Senate race was one of the closest on the Mississippi Coast, but it’s taken another turn with the Wednesday recovery of a thumb drive full of votes. With all precincts in Tuesday night, incumbent Rep. Scott DeLano held a 33-vote lead over Biloxi City Councilwoman Dixie Newman. That lead was without the affidavit votes, but DeLano declared the victory late Tuesday evening. “We look at these elections and see how many affidavits that are out there. It’s very unusual to make a really big difference in the outcome,” told the Sun Herald Tuesday night. “Even though it’s razor-thin, we expect it to fall in line with what the vote came out of those individual precincts.” It wasn’t the affidavits, but a thumb drive that changed the race Wednesday afternoon. “There was a drive that was left out from the D’Iberville Civic Center,” Newman’s campaign manager Holly Gibbes said. “Those numbers were never counted. (Harrison County Circuit Clerk) Connie Ladner‘s office produced that thumb drive today and added it in. “The thumb drive and all the affidavits, absentees and what could be counted is what put Dixie up by one vote.”Full Article: Recovered thumb drive puts Newman ahead after DeLano claimed victory in District 50 race | Biloxi Sun Herald.
In a federal court filing, lawyers representing election integrity advocates accuse Georgia election officials of destroying evidence that was “ground zero for establishing hacking, unauthorized access, and potential of manipulation of election results.” The brief, filed by the Coalition for Good Governance, argues that state officials “almost immediately” began destroying evidence after a 2017 lawsuit alleged Georgia’s voting machines were outdated and vulnerable to hacking. “The evidence strongly suggests that the State’s amateurish protection of critical election infrastructure placed Georgia’s election system at risk, and the State Defendants now appear to be desperate to cover-up the effects of their misfeasance — to the point of destroying evidence,” the lawsuit reads. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rebuffed the accusations in a statement — pointing to a US Senate Intelligence Committee report, which concluded that no machines were manipulated and no votes were changed.Full Article: Georgia election officials accused of destroying evidence in voting machine lawsuit | WTVR.com.
Georgia: Judge considers whether Georgia must stop using voting machines | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A federal judge who is deciding whether to shut down Georgia’s 27,000 electronic voting machines heard testimony Thursday that they flipped votes, lost ballots and posed election security risks. A packed courtroom listened as U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg considered a request that she immediately put the state’s 17-year-old voting machines out of service for this fall’s local elections, which include votes for the Atlanta school board, the Fulton County Commission and city councils across the state.State officials are already preparing to announce a replacement voting system that would go into use statewide in the March 24 presidential primary. But the concerned voters and election integrity advocates who sued say Georgia’s existing voting machines are fundamentally insecure and susceptible to hacking. They also plan to challenge the state’s incoming voting machines, which will still use touchscreens but with the added component of printed-out ballots that create a backup of electronic vote counts. The plaintiffs want voters to use paper ballots filled out with a pen.Totenberg didn’t signal how she would rule, but she said last fall that Georgia’s direct-recording electronic voting machines create a “concrete risk,” and election officials “had buried their heads in the sand” about vulnerabilities.Full Article: Judge considers whether Georgia must stop using voting machines.
Georgia: Judge: Georgia must allow inspection of election databases | Kate Brumback/Associated Press
A federal judge has ordered Georgia election officials to allow computer experts and lawyers to review the databases used to create ballots and count votes. The ruling came Tuesday in a lawsuit that challenges Georgia’s election system and seeks statewide use of hand-marked paper ballots. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg gave the state until Friday to turn over electronic copies of the databases to the plaintiffs’ lawyers and computer experts. The lawsuit was filed by a group of voters and the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity advocacy organization. It argues that the paperless touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are unsecure, vulnerable to hacking and unable to be audited. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have argued that they need to inspect the databases at issue because they provide the information that is loaded onto voting machines and then record the cast vote records.Full Article: Judge: Georgia must allow inspection of election databases - Fairfield Citizen.
Georgia: Judge allows outside inspection of Georgia voting system | Mark Niesse/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The insides of Georgia’s voting system will be cracked open for inspection as part of a lawsuit alleging that the state’s elections are vulnerable to inaccuracies, malfunctions and hacking. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg on Tuesday ordered election officials to allow computer experts to review databases used to configure ballots and tabulate votes.The ruling comes in a lawsuit by election integrity advocates who doubt the accuracy of Georgia’s electronic voting machines and are asking Totenberg to require that elections be conducted on paper ballots filled out with a pen.The review of election management databases is needed to understand what caused problems during November’s heated race for governor between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams, said Bruce Brown, an attorney for some of the plaintiffs.Voters reported that voting machines failed to record their choices, flipped their votes from one candidate to another and produced questionable results.“We can see the system malfunctioning, and everybody knows it is intrinsically vulnerable,” said Brown, who represents the Coalition for Good Governance, a Colorado-based organization focused on election accountability. “We’re trying to learn more about the exact causes of the particular problems we’re seeing in Georgia.”Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s attorneys objected to allowing a review of election databases, which have a variety of information including candidate names, party affiliations, ballot layouts and vote counts for each precinct. The databases don’t contain confidential information, Totenberg wrote.Full Article: Judge allows outside inspection of Georgia voting system.
Ohio: Students find new uses for old Ohio voting machines that shouldn’t have been sold to Dispatch | Marc Kovac/The Columbus Dispatch
Government offices have different ways of dealing with stuff they formally declare is no longer needed. Electronics often are shipped to a recycler, but furniture, vehicles, clothing and other items sometimes are offered for sale to the general public. Licking County offers old equipment, confiscated property and other items on GovDeals.com, an online auction site used by government offices across the country. For a couple of months earlier this year, the county’s board of elections posted a handful of different auctions for “Diebold AccuVote-TSx” voting machines, purchased for $2,700 each in 2005 and ’06. The lots sold for between $7 and $19. “Be Creative… what could I do with a Used Voting Machine?,” the auction listing read. The Dispatch took the suggestion literally and bought one lot of five machines at a cost of $3.40 each, receiving touchscreen units and stands, along with headphones, keypads, memory cards, keys and voter access cards. The actual elections software was removed before the sale, but the units were otherwise functional.Full Article: Students find new uses for old Ohio voting machines that shouldn't have been sold to Dispatch - News - The Columbus Dispatch - Columbus, OH.