President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia dismisses the idea that he has the power to interfere with Tuesday’s election. “Does anyone seriously think that Russia can affect the choice of the American people?” he asked during a foreign policy conference last week in the resort city of Sochi. “What, is America a banana republic? America’s a great power. Correct me if I’m wrong.” America’s top intelligence officials say he is highly unlikely to be able to alter the results. But they expect Russian hackers, or others, to try to disrupt the process — perhaps to help Donald J. Trump, but more likely to simply undercut what Mr. Putin views as America’s holier-than-thou attitudes about its democratic procedures. The Obama administration has concluded that much of the email hacking that has roiled the campaign was almost certainly approved by the Russian leadership. More recent activity — including the probing of registration rolls in several states — might be the work of independent Russian hackers, it says. While no one knows what to expect before the polls close, a tight race is more susceptible to mischief. So government agencies and commercial enterprises, including some hired by state election boards facing a determined cyberthreat for the first time, are on high alert. But they are not exactly sure what to look for. Russian hackers? Other attackers? Malware that harnesses devices to strike election infrastructure? More email revelations?Full Article: Five Possible Hacks to Worry About Before Election Day - The New York Times.
Rhode Island voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for Congress and General Assembly and for mayor in North Providence and Woonsocket. Voters will notice a few minor changes at the polls this year, and turnout is expected to be light. … Voters will notice a small change in the way they vote: filling in an oval on their paper ballot rather than connecting an arrow. The change is due to new digital-scan voting machines being rolled out across the state in the primary. A portion of the polling locations will also start using new electronic poll books during the primary. The new wireless tablet-based system is designed to make it easier for poll workers to find voters’ names and eliminate the waits that can happen when workers have to pore through printed binders arranged alphabetically. Several more polling places will use electronic poll books during the Nov. 8 general election, and then the full rollout is scheduled to happen in 2018, Gorbea’s office said.Full Article: Rhode Island voters to see new machines at polls Tuesday | Election 2016 Live | dailyjournalonline.com.
Rhode Island is acquiring 590 new electronic voting machines that will be used for the fall elections. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Thursday unveiled the new equipment, which replaces machines from the 1990s. The Democrat says the vote-scanners will be secure and report results quickly because they use wireless technology. The paper ballot will be different from what Rhode Island voters have used for many years. Voters will now fill in ovals instead of connecting arrows.
Secretary of State Mark Martin will provide an estimated $2.1 million worth of new voting equipment to five counties, his office announced Tuesday. The five counties are Chicot, Cleveland, Jackson, Randolph and Washington. The counties are scheduled to receive the voting equipment and have it operational for the upcoming school elections in September, the Republican secretary of state said. They will join five other counties for which the state this year purchased new election equipment, at a cost of nearly $3 million. The voting equipment will include new voting machines, tabulating machines and software. The counties will use the Express Vote Universal Voting System, which is a touch-screen machine, said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin.Full Article: In 5 counties, ballot systems set for update.
The state has awarded Washington County about $1.2 million of election equipment, said Jennifer Price, election commission coordinator. “We are getting the new voting equipment,” Price said. “We’re excited.” The Quorum Court accepted the equipment during its meeting Thursday. The county put aside $420,000 for the equipment. Election commissioners have said they were worried the state wouldn’t provide equipment in time for the general election Nov. 8, which is expected to have a large voter turnout. The county’s equipment is from 2006 and was starting to break down, Price said.Full Article: State awards Washington County $1.2 million in new voting equipment - Mobile.
Despite fears of a botched debut of Maryland’s new voting machines, state election officials say they received few reports of glitches and voter confusion in Tuesday’s primary. The election marked Maryland’s long-awaited switch to paper ballots tallied by scanner, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to ditch electronic machines that leave no paper trail. Late last year, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration raised concerns about election officials’ rushing the new machines into service. They relented when the machine vendor, Election Systems and Software, offered to devote additional staff and resources on a successful rollout.Full Article: Maryland’s new voting machines debut with few reported glitches - The Washington Post.
Cities and towns in Dale County that believed they rented voting machines from the Dale County Commission for past elections were actually renting those machines from a former county employee, Dale County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship said Tuesday. Blankenship said he will send letters to municipalities in the county addressing changes on how to obtain voting machines for upcoming elections after confusion over how the process was handled before. For the municipal elections this summer, Blankenship said the municipalities will be able to rent the machines from Election Systems & Software (ES & S). The county obtains its machines from ES&S as well. Blankenship said the decision came after discovering that in years past, a former county employee who had access to the county’s voting machines would take vacation from the county job in order to operate a company called Voting Machines Technology, in which municipalities were billed between $200 and $500 for use of the county’s voting machines.Full Article: Irregularity prompts Dale County to change voting machine process - Dothan Eagle: Local.
Sebastian County is poised to test new voting equipment for the state by letting county voters use it in the March 1 primaries. The Sebastian County Election Commission and county officials unveiled Tuesday the 250 voting machines, 54 tabulators and 94 digital poll books that will be set up in the county’s 41 polling places March 1 and in three early voting sites. Early voting begins Tuesday and runs through Feb. 29. For the past 10 years, voters in Sebastian County have had the option of voting on now-obsolete electronic machines or by paper ballot, Election Commission Chairman David Damron said. Both will be replaced by equipment the Arkansas secretary of state’s office bought from Omaha, Neb.-based Electronic Systems & Software for testing in Sebastian, Boone, Columbia and Garland counties.Full Article: Updated election machines unveiled | NWADG.
The Maryland State Board of Elections announced Thursday, Feb. 4, a change to how the new voting system equipment will be used during early voting for the 2016 presidential primary election. For this election, most early voters will manually make their selections on paper ballots and feed the marked ballots into a digital scanner. Voters with disabilities may use an accessible ballot marking device at each early voting center to make selections independently. With this change, the voting process during early voting will be identical to the Election Day process. … As initially designed, all voters during early voting would have used an accessible ballot-marking device to make selections. The voter would then feed into a digital scanner the ballot printed from the ballot marking device.Full Article: State announces early voting changes - The Star Democrat - Easton, Maryland: Local.
Idaho: Boundary County now has new electronic voting tabulators, will be used in upcoming March Presidential Primary | Newsbf
Elections and voting in Boundary County will take a technological leap forward this year. Two months from today is the Idaho Presidential Primary election, scheduled for March 8. Boundary County voters on that day will find there has been a substantial change in how they cast their ballots. Up until now, ballots in Boundary County were counted by humans, and by hand. Four or five poll workers staffed the vote counting rooms. One worker would read each ballot aloud, one at a time, while a second worker observed closely as a witness to make sure the ballot was read correctly. Two or three other poll workers would tally votes as the ballots were read. After every 25 ballots, they would stop, and the workers tallying the votes would compare and balance their counts to ensure all were recording the same totals. Poll workers in the counting rooms were not allowed to leave the room until all votes were counted.Full Article: Boundary County, Idaho, News.
Maryland voters will now have paper ballots they can review before finally submitting them this election season, and the Hagerstown races will be nonpartisan, the director of the Washington County Election Board said. State officials decided in 2007 to return to paper balloting, once the state had the funding available, so there will be a voter-verifiable paper trail, according to Washington County Election Director Kaye Robucci and the State Board of Elections’ website. If voters participate in early voting, they will use a machine with a touchscreen to select their choices, but that machine will print out a paper ballot that allows voters to review their choices before submitting the ballot officially, Robucci said.Full Article: Paper ballots among changes this election year in Md. - Herald Mail Media: Local News.
Voters in Maryland will be casting their votes with black pens and paper ballots in the upcoming presidential primary, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to get rid of touch-screen machines that leave no paper trail. The search for new equipment was mired in delays and setbacks before the state finally approved a $28 million contract last December. And even with the new ballots and scanners in hand, Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has raised questions in recent weeks about whether the state is headed for disaster in its rush to get them up and running. Rockville and College Park deployed the new machines without trouble in their fall municipal elections, but the April 26 primary election will be the first statewide test of the new system. Voters will be casting ballots in the presidential primary and in heated races to nominate candidates to succeed Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) in the U.S. Senate and to fill two open congressional seats.Full Article: Maryland officials insist new voting machines on track despite warnings - The Washington Post.
The first shipment of new election equipment for Boone County was delivered in the pouring rain Tuesday afternoon and secured in the new election central location, the former Vision Video building. The Secretary of State’s Office earlier this year chose Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Nebraska, as the vendor to replace the state’s voting machines. Boone County was chosen as one of four counties in a pilot program to begin using the new machines by the March 2016 primary election. ES&S’s bid of $29,928,868 was the highest of three companies interested, but Boone County Clerk Crystal Graddy said in June that it was the only company who had the necessary machines in stock in a warehouse and could deliver them quickly, in time for the 2016 primary election.Full Article: New voting machines arrive in Boone County - HarrisonDaily.com: News.
Sarasota County commissioners, at their Nov. 17 meeting, unanimously approved the purchase of a new voting system without a sealed bid process, after becoming dissatisfied with one of the two certified vendors in Florida. The county will pay $1.65 million for the system, to be purchased from Election Systems & Software (ES&S). That purchase will be paid for initially by a loan from the Pooled Commercial Paper Loan Program of the Florida Local Government Finance Commission Program, and repaid over seven years from the general fund. Because there were only two vendors available, one of which had been deemed operationally unacceptable, the county elected not to use a sealed-bid procurement process.Full Article: County agrees to borrow $1.65 million for new voting equipment | Sarasota | Your Observer.
Two months after Secretary of State Ken Detzner visited Marianna to talk about elections equipment headed to 12 small counties, new voting machines arrived at the offices of Jackson County Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Stephens. “We are very excited to have our new equipment delivered so we can prepare and look forward to a successful election year in 2016,” Stephens said. At the Oct. 13 county commission meeting, the board opted to buy the updated equipment, part of a deal negotiated between the small-county consortium, the state and equipment vendor Elections Systems & Software. For the $1.5 million transaction, the roughly $131,000 cost to Jackson County will be reimbursed by grant dollars passed on from the state. Trading in older models helped facilitate a discount on the new machines.Full Article: New voting machines arrive - Jackson County Floridan : Politics.
The Hogan administration has raised concerns that Maryland’s new $28 million voting system may not be ready for the April 26 primary, but the state’s top election official has rejected the idea of delaying the launch and using old machines. In a memo to the State Board of Elections obtained by The Baltimore Sun, elections administrator Linda H. Lamone warned that continuing to use Maryland’s old touch-screen voting system would be “very risky.” Lamone told board members that “it has been suggested” the state use the older system for the primary with an eye to implementing the new one for the November general election. Her memo did not specify who offered the suggestion, but the Hogan administration acknowledged Friday that its Department of Information Technology had raised “grave concerns” about the state’s new paper-based system.Full Article: Maryland elections chief rejects delay in launching new voting system - Baltimore Sun.
Maryland technology officials are questioning whether the state can successfully implement its new paper-ballot voting system in time for the 2016 election cycle, citing a host of issues that include dozens of unresolved hardware and software problems. David A. Garcia, secretary for Maryland’s Department of Information Technology, last week expressed “strong concerns” to State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone about the project’s progress, according to a statement on Friday from the Information Technology department. The state legislature approved a switch from digital to paper-ballot machines more than seven years ago, responding to concerns about reliability, accessibility and security with the electronic system. However, lawmakers did not fund the change until last year.Full Article: Agencies spar over readiness of Maryland’s new voting system - The Washington Post.
When Maryland voters head to the polls next year, there will be two different systems in place for both early voting and the general election, including the use of paper ballots. The Baltimore City Board of Elections provided a first look at the new way of voting being rolled out across the state next year. Maryland is going back to a paper ballot for the general election, but early voting in April will involve paper and a computer. City election director Armstead Jones said the new system will help create oversight. “Several years ago people talked about wanting a receipt,” Jones said. “Unfortunately they still won’t have a receipt, but the paper will serve as a backup.”Full Article: Election boards prepare for new voting processes | Politics - WBAL Home.
Following weeks of intense negotiations, the Florida Department of State has agreed to release funds obtained under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to purchase a new state-of-the art voting tabulation system for a 12-county consortium that includes Franklin County. In an article published in late 2014, Secretary of State Ken Detzner expressed concerns with aging voting equipment being utilized in many Florida counties. His remarks mirrored conclusions found in a non-partisan presidential commission on the voting experience that was released last year. When emerging technology and “mileage” are factored, experts generally estimate the useful shelf life of tabulation hardware and software to be about 10 years. Franklin County is utilizing tabulation equipment that while has proven to be reliable to date, was purchased nearly 15 years ago.Full Article: Partnership paves way for new voting system - News - The Times - Apalachicola, FL.