Dominion Voting Systems

Tag Archive

Illinois: From arrows to ovals and ‘giant iPads,’ voters in Chicago and Cook County will see new voting machines at the polls | Dan Petrella/Chicago Tribune

Voters in Chicago and the rest of Cook County will see brand-new voting machines when they head to the polls for the March 17 primary elections. All Chicago polling places will be equipped with new voting machines for paper ballots and each will have at least one new touch-screen voting machine, Chicago Board of Election spokesman James Allen said Monday. The most noticeable change will be that voters will fill in an oval rather than connecting to sides of an arrow when filling out a paper ballot, Allen said. The new touch-screen voting machines, which will resemble “giant iPads,” will print out a paper ballot, which voters will then feed into a scanner, much like they do with handwritten ballots. The city elections board is spending $21 million on the machines, with nearly $19 million coming from the city. The City Council approved a measure Jan. 15 that moves $18.7 million from city’s streetlight replacement program to pay for the new equipment. The city and the local election authority are paying for the new equipment because “everybody’s grown weary of waiting” for new federal funding for election equipment, Allen said. “Numerous jurisdictions around the state are just turning to their local pocketbooks,” he said. Fifty-five early voting sites across the city open March 2 and will all be equipped with the new touch-screen machines, Allen said.

Full Article: From arrows to ovals and ‘giant iPads,’ voters in Chicago and Cook County will see new voting machines at the polls - Chicago Tribune.

Georgia: Fearing long lines, Georgia election officials reject voting proposal | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s election board rejected a proposal Wednesday that could have resulted in long lines of voters, instead introducing a plan to require more voting machines during this year’s high-turnout presidential election. Still, the State Election Board’s proposed rules won’t provide as many voting machines as mandated by a state law passed last year, which called for one voting booth for every 250 voters in each precinct. Election officials said they will likely try to change that law during this year’s legislative session. With a new voting system being rolled out during the March 24 presidential primary, the State Election Board approved rules for the state’s voting machines and proposed several other changes dealing with absentee ballot rejections, provisional ballots, paper ballot backups and accessibility options for people with disabilities. The board’s most consequential decision determined how many voting machines are available in each precinct on Election Day.

Full Article: Georgia election officials require more voting machines.

Illinois: Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to spend nearly $19 million on new Chicago touchscreen voting machines before March primary election | John Byrne/Chicago Tribune

Chicago voters are poised to see updated voting machines that election officials said will provide more security in the March primary election, thanks to nearly $19 million Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to move from the city’s streetlight replacement program to pay for the new equipment. Under the spending plan aldermen advanced Monday, the bond money will be transferred to the Chicago Board of Elections to buy new touchscreen voting machines that will generate a paper ballot that voters will feed into ballot readers when they’re done voting. The city has borrowed money for the “smart streetlight” program that Mayor Rahm Emanuel championed through his public-private Infrastructure Trust as a way to save energy costs and speed the replacement of broken lights.

Full Article: Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to spend nearly $19 million on new Chicago touchscreen voting machines before March primary election - Chicago Tribune.

National: Voting vendors, security pros still far apart on protecting 2020 election | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Voting machine companies and cybersecurity advocates are still miles apart on what it will take to secure 2020 against Russian hackers. During a nearly three-hour congressional hearing yesterday, security advocates sounded alarm bells about possible election hacks, warning machines in use today can be easily compromised. Companies, meanwhile, mostly defended the status quo. At one point, the chief executive of Hart InterCivic, one of three major companies that control more than 80 percent of the voting machine market, even defended selling paperless voting machines that can’t be audited and that top security experts and the Department of Homeland Security have warned are far too vulnerable in an era when elections are being targeted by sophisticated Russian hackers. “We actually believe our [machines] are secure,” said Hart CEO Julie Mathis, describing a number of internal defensive measures and security reviews they passed – primarily before 2016. The divisions highlighted how, despite three years of surging congressional attention to election security since Russia’s 2016 hacking efforts, there has been almost no government oversight of voting machine makers themselves. … Mathis’s comments were panned by security advocates. “It’s very simple. No matter how secure that device is, there’s no way to know whether the choice that’s recorded matches what the voter intended. It’s rightly called a black box,” Edward Perez, a former Hart executive who’s now global director of technology development at OSET Institute, a nonprofit election technology organization, said in an interview.

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Voting vendors, security pros still far apart on protecting 2020 election - The Washington Post.

National: Voting machine makers face questions from House lawmakers — but more remain | Ben Popken/NBC

For decades, the companies that dominated the U.S. voting machine industry operated in relative anonymity. Now, lawmakers want answers and transparency. The CEOs of the three companies that make more than 80 percent of the country’s voting machines testified before Congress Thursday for the first time, marking a new and bipartisan effort to ensure the security of the 2020 election. The three companies, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic, are almost entirely unregulated. But in recent years, policymakers and election advocates have begun to question who owns the companies, how they make their machines and whether they could be susceptible to remote hacking. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., chair of the congressional subcommittee that oversees federal elections, said in her opening remarks that they need more information from the companies. “Despite their outsized role in the mechanics of our democracy, some have accused these companies with obfuscating, and in some cases misleading election administrators and the American public,” said. “There is much work to do, and much for Congress to learn about this industry.”

Full Article: Voting machine makers face questions from House lawmakers — but more remain.

National: Voting equipment companies throw weight behind enhanced disclosures | Maggie Miller/The Hill

The CEOs of the three largest U.S. voting equipment companies on Thursday supported more disclosure requirements, marking a major step for an industry that has come under close scrutiny in recent years due to election security concerns. The leaders of Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic testified before the House Administration Committee during a House hearing, marking the first time leaders from the three major voting equipment manufacturers testified together before Congress. Committee Chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) kicked off the hearing by asking whether the CEOs of these companies, which are estimated to control at least 80 percent of the market for voting equipment in the U.S., would support legislation mandating more disclosures.  Specifically, Lofgren asked if they would support requirements to disclose company cybersecurity practices, cyberattacks experienced by the companies, background checks done on employees, foreign investments in the companies, as well as information on the supply chain involved in building the voting equipment. Tom Burt, the president and CEO of ES&S, which has the largest individual share of the voting equipment market, answered that he “would support a requirement for all five of those requirements.” Julie Mathis, the CEO and president of Hart InterCivic, and John Poulos, the CEO and president of Dominion, both also agreed with Lofgren’s listed disclosure requirements.

Full Article: Voting equipment companies throw weight behind enhanced disclosures | TheHill.

Georgia: Few voters check printed ballots like those in Georgia, study shows | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Most voters fail to verify the accuracy of paper ballots printed by touchscreens like those being rolled out in Georgia this year, according to a new study. Unless voters review their choices, potential hacking of election results could go undetected, said the University of Michigan study published Wednesday. Just 7% of voters detected errors on computer-printed paper ballots, the study found. The number of voters who reported ballot errors increased to 16% when they were warned by poll workers that the paper ballot was the official record of their vote. A pending Georgia elections rule requires poll workers to give verbal instructions to voters to review their ballots before scanning them. Signs will also be posted in voting locations reminding voters to verify their ballot choices. The new voting system with touchscreens and printed ballots is scheduled to be used by all Georgia voters for the March 24 presidential primary. The system will replace the state’s 18-year-old electronic voting machines, which didn’t produce paper ballots.

Full Article: Study: Voters fail to detect errors on ballots used in Georgia.

National: Voting machine vendors to testify on election security | Maggie Miller/The Hill

The CEOs of the three biggest U.S. voting equipment manufacturers will testify before the House Administration Committee on Thursday, marking the first election security hearing of 2020. The hearing, which is to be focused on the status of election security, will represent the first time that top executives from the three companies have testified together before Congress. The presidents and CEOs of Dominion Voting Systems, Hart InterCivic and Election Systems and Software (ES&S) are all scheduled to appear. These three companies are estimated to control more  90 percent of the voting equipment market in the U.S., according to a report put out by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Public Policy Initiative. All three have come under scrutiny from Washington in the wake of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race. The Senate Intelligence Committee in volume one of its investigation into Russia’s actions expressed concerns for the security of voting machines. It voiced particular concerns with “direct-recording electronic” machines, which do not print out a paper copy of a voter’s vote.

Full Article: Voting machine vendors to testify on election security | TheHill.

Georgia: State confident in timeline for delivery of new voting equipment | Tyler Estep/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cellophane-wrapped pallet by cellophane-wrapped pallet, workers rolled some 2,800 new voting machines into the DeKalb County elections warehouse on Monday. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger described it as the largest delivery to-date for the new voting system — and said he’s confident every community in Georgia will be fully equipped and fully prepared for March’s presidential primary. “We’ll have every county at 100 percent capacity before the end of the first week in February,” Raffensperger said. As recently as last month, officials had put the target date at the end of January. The new system, run on equipment provided by Dominion Voting Systems through a $107 million state contract awarded this summer, will replace Georgia’s 18-year-old electronic machines with a combination of touchscreens, printed ballots and scanners. Counties across the state must make the switch for the March 24 primary, which involves three weeks of early voting.

Full Article: Georgia official: Voting machines will arrive in plenty of time.

Georgia: State Ramps Up New Voting Machine Delivery As Election Deadline Looms | Stephen Fowler/Georgia Public Broadcasting

Standing at the edge of a DeKalb County loading dock, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger joined several reporters and elections staff as a nondescript white truck slowly backed up to unload its cargo. The truck was loaded with battery backups that will help power 2,839 ballot-marking devices used by DeKalb voters in future elections. It was the first of many shipments arriving that day. While the holiday season has made coordinating deliveries to local officials tricky, Raffensperger said that more than 25,000 of the 33,100 BMDs are tested and in the state’s control and 32 of Georgia’s 159 counties have received nearly all of their new voting machines and accessories. Cobb County (2,039 machines) is waiting on final pieces of equipment, DeKalb County (2,839) is currently being delivered and in the next few weeks Fulton (3,058) and Gwinnett counties (2,257) will receive most of their equipment. “So, that represents 34% of all the voting equipment for the entire state of Georgia,” Raffensperger said.

Full Article: Georgia Ramps Up New Voting Machine Delivery As Election Deadline Looms | Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Georgia: State Elections Board seeks public comment on paper ballot rules | Albany Herald

The State Elections Board voted Tuesday to post for public comment updated rules for county officials to run elections on Georgia’s new paper ballot system, another key step in the implementation of the largest voting system rollout in U.S. history. An important aspect of the rules are procedures for maintaining the integrity of the touchscreen ballot-marking devises, known as BMDs. The rules require county poll managers to test each BMD before every election to ensure that voters’ selections will be accurately printed on the ballots. “These rules, and the verification procedures they contemplate, are critical in assuring voters that their choices will be recorded faithfully and counted accurately,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, chairman of the five-member State Elections Board, said in a news release. The proposed rules reflect best practices recommended by election-security experts and House Bill 316 passed earlier this year by the Georgia General Assembly. They also incorporate comments from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Democratic Party of Georgia, the Brennan Center for Justice, and a working group of local election officials. The proposed rules are posted at here.

Full Article: Georgia State Elections Board seeks public comment on paper ballot rules | News | albanyherald.com.

Georgia: State Buying More New Voting Machines For Counties Ahead Of 2020 Rollout | Stephen Fowler/Georgia Public Broadcasting

Nearly half of Georgia’s 159 counties are getting more voting machines than allotted in the original request for proposals, according to the latest numbers from the secretary of state’s office. Georgia has purchased 33,100 Dominion ballot-marking devices as part of the largest single implementation of a new voting system in U.S. history, with 31,826 of them slated to be delivered to counties ahead of the March 24 presidential preference primary. Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer and project manager with the secretary of state’s office, said that each county will receive either the number of machines requested in the RFP or one machine for every 225 active registered voters in the county, whichever is larger. That ranges from 10 machines sent to Taliaferro, Quitman and Webster counties to more than 3,300 in Fulton. No county will have fewer BMDs than they had direct-recording electronic machines in the 2018 election. Sterling said the purchase of 3,000 additional machines as well as high-capacity scanners for every county and mobile ballot printers are the result of cost savings and negotiations with Dominion over the past few months.

SPREADSHEET: Voting Machines By County

Full Article: Georgia Buying More New Voting Machines For Counties Ahead Of 2020 Rollout | Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Georgia: Groups Claim New Voting Machines Will Cost Counties Millions Extra, Georgia Secretary Of State’s Office Disagrees | Emil Moffat and Emma Hurt/WABE

A new study warns that Georgia’s new voting system could cost counties more than $80 million over the next ten years. The study was compiled by three groups: Fair Fight Action, a group founded by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams; The National Election Defense Coalition, which declares itself bi-partisan; and Freedom Works, a conservative group. That cost estimate, for some counties, includes the purchase of additional voting machines for this coming election to meet requirements under a new law that passed this year. The law, House Bill 316, mandates that each precinct has one voting station for every 250 registered voters. The estimates for the additional machines gathered in the study varied from hundreds, such as in Fulton County, to no additional machines, such as in DeKalb County. The state of Georgia agreed to a $107 million contract with Dominion Voting Systems in July. The groups who compiled the election cost study argue that the terms of the contract don’t cover warranty and licensing costs in the future, as well as printing costs like paper and toner, leaving the counties to foot the bill.

Full Article: Groups Claim New Voting Machines Will Cost Counties Millions Extra, Georgia Secretary Of State's Office Disagrees | 90.1 FM WABE.

Georgia: Groups warn of hidden costs of new Georgia voting machines | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia taxpayers could be saddled with tens of millions of dollars in hidden costs for new voting machines, according to calculations released Wednesday by three groups critical of the state’s election spending. The groups, which span the political spectrum, said a $104 million contract for a new statewide voting system fails to provide enough money for voting machines, equipment, software and personnel, resulting in an estimated $82 million shortfall. The Georgia secretary of state’s office responded that the groups’ estimates are incorrect, the voting system is within its budget, and the state government has already ordered 3,000 additional machines to meet voters’ needs. The cost analysis was produced by Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by former Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams; FreedomWorks, which advocates for free markets and small government; and the National Election Defense Coalition, an election security organization. “By imposing this unfunded mandate, the secretary of state has put all 159 counties in a position of either enacting massive local tax hikes or facing widespread lawsuits at taxpayer expense,” said Jason Pye of FreedomWorks.

Full Article: Georgia voting machines include pricey hidden costs, groups say.

Georgia: Problems with new Georgia voting system found in test election | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Voting machines rebooted in the middle of voting. Computers couldn’t program the cards voters use to activate voting machines. One voter inserted a driver’s license into the voting machine, causing it to go blank. Those were some of the 45 incidents reported during a test run of Georgia’s new voting system, according to a summary from the secretary of state’s office. The pilot was conducted in six counties, where 27,482 ballots were cast in this month’s election. The test identified issues with the voting system, which combines touchscreens with printed-out paper ballots, that can now be corrected before it’s used statewide in the March 24 presidential primary, said Gabe Sterling, the chief operating officer for the secretary of state’s office. “These problems are mainly human-based,” Sterling said. “We can train and train, and our plan is to train again. That’s going to be the main thing that’s going to make these things work properly.” Sterling said he’s confident that the state’s voting system will be ready for the presidential primary, and all equipment is scheduled for delivery by late January.

Full Article: Georgia election officials say they'll fix voting system issues.

National: Election vendors should be vetted for security risks, says watchdog group | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

The federal government should start vetting companies that sell election systems as seriously as it does defense contractors and energy firms, a top election security group argues in a proposal out this morning. Under the proposal from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, government auditors would verify election companies and their suppliers are following a raft of cybersecurity best practices. They would also have to run background checks to ensure employees aren’t likely to sabotage machines to help Russia or other U.S. adversaries. The suggestion comes as Congress continues to fight over whether to tighten election security as candidates ramp up for the 2020 election. Senate Republicans, especially, have stalled further security measures, even as observers warn that the next election is ripe for hacking by foreign adversaries such as Russia, which interfered in the 2016 contest. Vendors of voting machines, however, have traditionally been exempt from close review by federal regulators. “These vendors are a critical part of securing our elections, but we haven’t really focused on them at all,” Lawrence Norden, director of Brennan’s election reform program and one of the authors, told me. “We need to understand that they’re critically important but also represent a vulnerability that there needs to be oversight for.”

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Election vendors should be vetted for security risks, says watchdog group - The Washington Post.

Georgia: Voting machine critics investigated by Georgia election officials | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia election officials are investigating two prominent critics for allegedly intruding into voting areas during a test run of the state’s new voting machines. The two people under investigation said the investigation is an intimidation tactic by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office. Marilyn Marks, a plaintiff in a lawsuit demanding that Georgia switch to hand-marked paper ballots, and Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech cybersecurity expert, are accused of “interfering with voters by being in an unauthorized area” during the Nov. 5 election, said Walter Jones, a spokesman for Raffensperger. “The secretary of state takes voters’ reports that individuals are violating election law and undermining the integrity of our state and local elections seriously,” Jones said in a statement. Marks said Raffensperger is attempting to marginalize skeptics of the state’s new voting system, which combines touchscreens and printed ballots. The system is scheduled to be rolled out to voters statewide during the March 24 presidential primary.

Full Article: Georgia election officials accuse critics of voting machines.

Georgia: Election officials investigate prominent critics | Ben Nadler/Associated Press

Georgia election officials have opened an investigation into two prominent critics of the state’s new touchscreen voting machines, secretary of state Brad Raffensperger’s office confirmed Wednesday. Those critics called the investigation an attempt to intimidate detractors of the new machines. Marilyn Marks, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Good Governance, and Richard DeMillo, a cybersecurity expert and Georgia Tech professor, are accused of “interfering with voters by being in unauthorized areas” of voting locations while observing pilot elections conducted on the new machines on Nov. 5. Raffensperger spokesman Walter Jones says the investigation was launched after complaints from “poll workers and voters” and that Marks and DeMillo were “in an area of the polling place where only voters and election officials are allowed to be.” Marks responded, “I have absolutely no idea what this could be about other than just an effort to try to discredit us, because much of what we observed was not pretty.” Marks said they worked with local election officials that day and hadn’t heard any concerns at the time. She said Raffensperger should be promoting open and transparent elections rather than “trying to make examples of people who want to exercise their right to learn more, who want to observe, who want to promote transparency.”

Full Article: Georgia election officials investigate prominent critics - StarTribune.com.

Pennsylvania: ‘You should be pretty worried’: Fixing York County’s election system before 2020 votes | Logan Hullinger/York Dispatch

The maker of York County’s new voting machines pledged to have support on hand for all of next year’s elections after a tumultuous rollout of the system earlier this month that delayed election results for days. A representative for Dominion Voting Systems made the announcement Thursday, Nov. 14, during a debriefing that included the county commissioners, nearly all of the county’s state lawmakers, poll workers and election officials. Kay Stimson, the company’s vice president of government affairs, said Dominion also would work with county officials to reevaluate the number of machines needed in each of the 159 precincts. Based of the problems during the Nov. 5 municipal election, Lawmakers were particularly concerned about the 2020 voting — which includes a special election in January, the primary in April and the presidential contest in November. “If you voted in York, you should be pretty worried,” state Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, said after the meeting.

Full Article: 'You should be pretty worried': Fixing York County's election system before 2020 votes.

National: Expensive, Glitchy Voting Machines Expose 2020 Hacking Risks | Kartikay Mehrotra and Margaret Newkirk/Bloomberg

The first sign something was wrong with Northampton County, Pennsylvania’s state-of-the-art voting system came on Election Day when a voter called the local Democratic Party chairman to say a touchscreen in her precinct was acting “finicky.” As she scrolled down the ballot, the tick-marks next to candidates she’d selected kept disappearing. Her experience Nov. 5 was no isolated glitch. Over the course of the day, the new election machinery, bought over the objections of cybersecurity experts, continued to malfunction. Built by Election Systems & Software, the ExpressVote XL was designed to marry touchscreen technology with a paper-trail for post-election audits. Instead, it created such chaos that poll workers had to crack open the machines, remove the ballot records and use scanners summoned from across state lines to conduct a recount that lasted until 5 a.m. In one case, it turned out a candidate that the XL showed getting just 15 votes had won by about 1,000. Neither Northampton nor ES&S know what went wrong. Digital voting machines were promoted in the wake of a similarly chaotic scene 19 years ago: the infamous punch-card ballots and hanging chads of south Florida that tossed the presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore into uncertainty.

Full Article: Expensive, Glitchy Voting Machines Expose 2020 Hacking Risks - Bloomberg.