direct recording electronic

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National: America’s Love Affair with Paperless Voting Is Over. Here’s Why | Luca Ropek/Government Technology

Before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) took over as the single biggest threat to the 2020 presidential election, the security of state voting infrastructure was chief among the concerns held by many elected officials. Since 2016, foreign interference in American elections has been a critical concern, and direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting systems — or paperless voting machines — are increasingly viewed as a critical target that foreign adversaries might exploit. Touchscreen and electronic, the machines were once considered the most efficient, credible means to tabulate elections, but over the years many facets of them — in particular their lack of an auditable paper trail — have led experts to warn against their adoption. Hackers could gain entry, change votes and sway elections, cyberprofessionals fear. Here’s a look at how DREs became such a prominent fixture of U.S. voting infrastructure, and why they have since seen a precipitous decline in use as states ditch them for old-fashioned paper. 

Full Article: America’s Love Affair with Paperless Voting Is Over. Here’s Why.

Texas: ‘The worst voting experience’: Long lines drag Super Tuesday deep into the night for some voters | Mike Morris, Samantha Ketterer, and Nicole Hensley/Houston Chronicle

Dozens of Democratic voters were still waiting to cast ballots at midnight in Houston, turning Super Tuesday into a painful slog for some citizens amid questions about how the County Clerk’s office had allocated its voting machines across the county. Janet Gonzalez left work early and at 5:30 p.m. checked a website the clerk’s office runs to show wait times at polling places. It seemed Texas Southern University had a short wait, but when she arrived she found a massive line. She waited an hour outside and three more inside before she finally cast her ballot. Officials with the clerk’s office acknowledged the accuracy of the wait-times website is reliant on election workers manually updating the status of their polling places. Some people in line gave up and walked away, Gonzalez said. Others briefly sought refuge on a scattering of chairs before giving them up to others as the line inched forward. Polls closed at 7 p.m., but voters still can cast ballots as long as they stay in line. “It was a challenge,” Gonzalez said. “You have to look around at the elderly people and overcome your own pain.”

Full Article: 'The worst voting experience': Long lines drag Super Tuesday deep into the night for some voters - Houston Chronicle.

National: ElectionGuard could be Microsoft’s most important product in 2020. If it works | Alfred Ng/CNET

Building 83 doesn’t stand out on Microsoft’s massive Redmond, Washington, headquarters. But last week, the nameless structure hosted what might be the software giant’s most important product of 2020. Tucked away in the corner of a meeting room, a sign reading “ElectionGuard” identifies a touchscreen that asks people to cast their votes. An Xbox adaptive controller is connected to it, as are an all-white printer and a white ballot box for paper votes. If you didn’t look carefully, you might have mistaken all that for an array of office supplies. ElectionGuard is open-source voting-machine software that Microsoft announced in May 2019. In Microsoft’s demo, voters make their choices by touchscreen before printing out two copies. A voter is supposed to double-check one copy before placing it into a ballot box to be counted by election workers. The other is a backup record with a QR code the voter can use to check that the vote was counted after polls close. With ElectionGuard, Microsoft isn’t setting out to create an unhackable vote — no one thinks that’s possible — but rather a vote in which hacks would be quickly noticed. The product demo was far quieter than the typical big tech launch. No flashy lights or hordes of company employees cheering their own product, like Microsoft’s dual screen phone, its highly anticipated dual-screen laptop or its new Xbox Series X. And yet, if everything goes right, ElectionGuard could have an impact that lasts well beyond the flashy products in Microsoft’s pipeline.

Full Article: This could be Microsoft's most important product in 2020. If it works - CNET.

Wisconsin: Microsoft tests new voting technology in a small Wisconsin town | Bill Glauber/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Voters in the Town of Fulton, which is 8 miles north of Janesville in Rock County, gave Microsoft’s ElectionGuard software a tryout. ElectionGuard enables voters to verify that their ballot was counted through generating a ballot tracking code. The software also provides encrypted results. VotingWorks, a nonprofit voting software company, supplied the voting equipment, which consisted of card readers, tablets, ballot marking devices and printers. The process appeared seamless. After checking in, voters received a key card to insert into a tablet. They then selected candidates on a touch screen. They printed the ballot and placed it in the ballot box. They received a second printed piece of paper that provided a tracking code that they could use later to verify that their vote was counted, by logging into a Microsoft website.  The verification system does not allow the voter, or anyone else for that matter, to see who they voted for. Although it was the first time the software was used in an election, this was just a test. All of the paper ballots voters cast were to be hand-counted by local election officials.

Full Article: Microsoft tests new voting technology in a small Wisconsin town.

Verified Voting Blog: Verified Voting’s Policy on DREs and BMDs

Download VerifiedVoting’s Policy on Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines and Ballot Marking Devices

On November 21, 2019 we revised Verified Voting’s Policy on Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines and Ballot Marking Devices to remove a reference to parallel testing on page 8 of the original document.

Although the concept of parallel testing has been discussed for more than a decade, we recognize that few if any jurisdictions have actually used it and its utility for detecting any problems with elections has not been demonstrated. Consequently, we are removing the reference.

To see the originally published version, click here.

Today, Verified Voting published its policy statement on Direct Recording Electronic voting systems and Ballot Marking Devices. We published this statement because many jurisdictions either have replaced or are in the process of replacing older vulnerable systems.  In striking contrast to the last time states replaced voting systems after the passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002, this time the consensus is that voting systems must have a paper record.

But it’s not enough for a voting system to “check the box” on paper – to print paper records that voters may not even notice or examine. To be trustworthy, elections need to be based on voter-marked paper ballots. Whether these ballots are marked by hand or by device, for them to be considered voter-marked, voters should know what they say!