State and federal officials are worried that obsolete voting equipment may be putting state election infrastructure at risk. At an Oct. 24 meeting of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security Forum, Election Assistance Commission Commissioner Thomas Hicks, called aging voting equipment “one of the biggest vulnerabilities I see right now.” Some states are using 15-year-old machines that are at the end of their lifecycles and don’t have resources to buy new equipment, Hicks said. Concerns about aging equipment are heightened because of reports from the Department of Homeland Security that Russian hackers targeted voting systems in 21 states.
Editorials: Bromance between Kris Kobach and Brian Newby leads to attack on voting rights | The Kansas City Star
The essential voting rights of Americans are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and multiple laws across the land. But all of this means little to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and other Republicans who want to trample on those rights and keep legal immigrants, poor people and others out of the voting booth. Because laws can be changed. The Constitution can be skirted. New rules can be imposed from on high when like-minded people are in the right place. Which brings us to Brian Newby, the recently departed leader of the Johnson County Election Office. Late last year he accepted the job as the executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a nonpartisan office that’s supposed to help make voting more accessible and promote good election practices throughout the country. Shortly after taking that work, Newby abruptly decided that people in Kansas, Alabama and Georgia could not register to vote by using a national form — one that doesn’t require providing proof of U.S. citizenship.
You’ve planned for it, you’ve dreaded it, and now it’s finally here. 2016. There’s no going back and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission kicked things off this week with a roundtable discussion of elections officials from nine of the battleground states. “Even though from the public perspective, it may seem like election season is just beginning, for the election officials, we’ve been preparing for a number of months, even a number of years,” said Moderator Merle King of Kennesaw State University. “The election cycle is the apex. The finish line.” The roundtable was held in the Washington, D.C.-area and streamed live on the Internet. The wide-ranging conversation covered everything from social media to emergency contingency planning to technology to media relations to setting standards.
After years of inaction, it looks like the powers that be in Washington are ready to put the EAC back together. Yesterday, the White House issued a press release that included the following: President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts … This is good news on a variety of fronts. First, these two nominations suggest that Capitol Hill Republicans are ready to let the nomination and confirmation process move forward, which may put to rest (for the time being) the drive to defund and eliminate the EAC. Second, they raise expectations that a full complement of Commissioners will be able to restart and/or continue the lesser-known but crucial functions of the EAC like voting system standards adoption and management of the Election Administration and Voting Survey, which underpins much of the data-focused reforms underway nationwide.