The next time Pennsylvanians vote in a presidential election, it will most likely be on updated machines. New voting systems must be in place in every county by the end of 2019, per updated guidelines set by Governor Tom Wolf’s administration. “All of the systems you see here have a voter-verifiable, paper ballot,” said Jonathan Marks, at a vendor event Wednesday at Dickinson College where several different brands of machines were set up for the public to try firsthand. “They’ve also been certified to newer security standards; the current equipment in use in Pennsylvania is certified to standards that were actually written in the 1990’s.”Full Article: New voting machines to be in place across Pennsylvania by 2020.
New Zealand: Online voting trial for 2019 local body elections halted because of rising costs | TVNZ
A trial of online voting in next year’s local body will not take place after a working party of nine councils decided to halt the trial because of rising costs. A provider who satisfied the security and delivery requirements had recently been selected but ballooning costs forced the decision to not proceed with the trial in 2019. The working party will continue to work collaboratively with central government and the wider local government sector to deliver online voting for the 2022 local body elections.Full Article: Online voting trial for 2019 local body elections halted because of rising costs | 1 NEWS NOW | TVNZ.
A top Republican state senator is drafting legislation to prevent Gov. Tom Wolf from forcing Pennsylvania counties to buy new voting machines, a priority for the Democratic governor to ensure the machines are in place in time for the 2020 presidential election. Wolf has promoted the effort as a safeguard against hacking, since four in five Pennsylvania voters use electronic voting machines that lack an auditable paper trail. But Senate Majority Whip, Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, said Wednesday he wants to require legislative approval before Wolf — or any Pennsylvania governor— can force counties to buy new machines and set up a commission to gather public input and develop recommendations.Full Article: Pa. lawmaker questions governor’s drive for new voting machines.
Libya’s electoral commission has asked the government for $28.7 million, saying that without funding to boost its “zero” budget it cannot make plans to prepare for a vote on a new constitution and later elections. Western powers and the United Nations hope Libya will hold a national election by June after a referendum on a constitutional framework to chart a way out of a conflict stemming from the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. A French plan, backed by the United Nations, had initially called for a presidential and parliamentary vote on Dec 10. But weeks of fighting in the capital Tripoli between competing groups and almost no progress between the North African country’s two rival parliaments made that impossible.Full Article: Libyan election commission says has zero budget to prepare polls | Reuters.
It’s getting down to crunch time for Pennsylvania’s counties to decide which new voting machines to buy, and how, as Gov. Tom Wolf presses them to switch to voting machines that leave a paper trail as a safeguard against hacking. Wolf’s administration told county officials this week the Democratic governor wants the state to cover at least half the cost. The news came as counties assemble fiscal-year budgets and try out machines that are expected to be included in a state purchasing contract being finalized in the coming weeks. Securing state aid will mean persuading the Republican-controlled Legislature to commit tens of millions of dollars toward what counties estimate will eventually be a $125 million tab.Full Article: Crunch time nears in Pennsylvania to buy new voting machines | New Pittsburgh Courier.
Ohioans are closer to getting new voting machines. Secretary of State Jon Husted has notified county boards of elections they can start the process of selecting new equipment. “Ohio’s voters will soon say goodbye to aging voting equipment that pre-dates the first generation iPhone,” Husted said in a statement Thursday. State lawmakers approved the Voting Equipment Acquisition Program this year. It sets aside $104.5 million to purchase new equipment for Ohio’s 88 counties. Under the program, each county’s commissioners can select a voting system, equipment and services from five voting system vendors.Full Article: Ohio Counties Getting State Funding For New Voting Machines | WOSU Radio.
When many Texas counties bought their latest voting machines, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears just broke up, Nickelback was popular, and the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law. The year was 2002. Most county officials bought machines after Florida’s fumbled the 2000 election and Congress passed the Help America Vote Act. In 2018, county voting machines confused many Texans who accidentally changed their votes after machines took several seconds to populate results. “Connection issues” plagued Hays County and voting machines temporarily malfunctioned in Williamson County during the 2018 November elections. Several Texas lawmakers filed bills to require new voting machines but one Central Texas lawmaker thinks the state should help pay for them.Full Article: Texas needs new voting machines but will the state pay for them?.
There likely isn’t a quick fix for complex U.S. election integrity challenges such as social-engineering interference on Facebook. Experts say there is a straightforward response, however, to vulnerable voting-machine software. The problem is that it involves cooperation in Congress. When the Senate failed to move the Secure Elections Act forward in August because of White House concerns over states’ rights, coupled with funding concerns, the United States lost its best chance this year of taking steps toward patching voting machines. The most recent federal dollars devoted to improving elections came from the Help Americans Vote Act of 2002, which was itself flawed because its authors failed to predict cybersecurity standards for voting machines. The idea of hackers infiltrating computerized voting machines at the time was “completely ridiculous,” says Margaret MacAlpine, a voting-machine security researcher and a founding partner of cybersecurity consultancy Nordic Innovation Labs. “The cybersecurity threat was more than science fiction at that point,” she says. And even now, as knowledge that the machines are vulnerable to hackers spreads, there is still a lack of political will to allocate the funds needed to replace them and ensure that new machines are secured against attacks, she says.Full Article: Securing voting machines means raising funds - The Parallax.
An 11-county council in central Pennsylvania has gone on record opposing the state mandate that counties to replace their voting machines. SEDA-Council of Governments, a public development organization, on Wednesday became the latest body to criticize the state requirement that by Dec. 31, 2019, all voting systems must create a verifiable paper trail. SEDA-COG’s resolution also calls on the state to provide full funding to any county that is required to replace its voting equipment. The estimated cost of replacing all voting machines in the state is $125 million.Full Article: Council of governments opposes state mandate for new voting machines | PennLive.com.
The midterm elections are here. Early voting is already happening in some places. We’re spending the rest of the week on election security and technology, starting with voting machines. Candice Hoke, founding co-director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, believes insecure voting machines are the biggest security threat to the midterm elections. And they’re definitely insecure. Last summer at the DefCon hacking conference, security experts hacked and whacked at a variety of voting machines and came away saying the machines were hopelessly vulnerable to even the most basic hacking, like the kind where the default password is still “password.” And lots of them don’t even create paper receipts to ensure the votes were counted correctly. “We have not required voting systems vendors to operate under the same kinds of rules as, say, pharmaceuticals as to the safe and effectiveness of their products,” Hoke said. “So safety, privacy, auditability, transparency, whatever word you want to use, these are all marketing terms in the voting systems arena rather than reflective of some kind of standards that are actually being enforced.”Full Article: Voting machines are totally hackable. But who's going to pay to fix them? | 90.5 WESA.
Pennsylvania: ‘A Relative Bargain’: Election Security Group Urges Funding for $125M Upgrade to Pennsylvania Voting Machines | NBC
A group examining election security in Pennsylvania urged Congress and state lawmakers Tuesday to speed up the funding required to replace voting machines, noting most lack a paper record needed to check for fraud and errors. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security released interim recommendations and said the estimated $125 million to replace all machines statewide was “a relative bargain.” “Pennsylvania’s elections are at risk,” the interim report said. “And one of the biggest risks is one that we can control — properly funding our election security, including by procuring voting machines that use voter-marked paper ballots.”Full Article: 'A Relative Bargain': Election Security Group Urges Funding for $125M Upgrade to Pennsylvania Voting Machines - NBC 10 Philadelphia.
As Georgia leaders debate how to replace the state’s maligned voting system, local government officials have a simple request: Pick up the tab. In its list of legislative priorities released earlier this month, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia said the state government should fully fund any new voting technology. It also said the state should pay to train county employees to use the new system — whatever it turns out to be. State Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, said during a June meeting that a new voting system will cost “realistically” $30-$60 million. Todd Edwards, the association’s deputy legislative director, pointed out Friday that a Georgia law on the books requires the state to pay for voting equipment in all 159 counties. That doesn’t guarantee the law will be the same when the Legislature wraps up at end of March.Full Article: Who's going to pay for Georgia's new voting technology? | Times Free Press.
Cost is the biggest roadblock Valley election officials are having in meeting Gov. Tom Wolf’s mandate that all voting machines provide a paper trail before the 2020 presidential election. The mandate covers the entire state, including counties with optical scan machines that count votes marked on paper ballots, said Wanda Murren, a Department of State spokeswoman. Union County’s director of elections and voter registration Greg Katherman on Friday afternoon, said the county’s current voting machines are functioning, but worn and approaching the time in which they should be replaced. “There is some money coming from the Federal omnibus spending package, but it’s not enough to cover the costs,” he said.Full Article: Counties: Cost is big hurdle for new voting machines | Local News | dailyitem.com.
Kemp, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, co-chairs the SAFE Commission with Harlem state Rep. Barry Fleming. The bipartisan committee includes two Democratic state legislators, six county elections officials, attorneys for the state Democratic and Republican parties and others. They won’t be put to use in Georgia anytime soon, but vendors interested in providing the state’s new voting system will present their wares Thursday in Grovetown. At the second meeting of the Secure, Accessible and Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission, vendors who responded to the state’s recent request for information on options for replacing Georgia’s voting system are invited to present their products to the statewide panel.Full Article: SAFE Commission to review possible voting system replacements.
Indiana’s top elections official is planning to use more than $7.5 million in federal funding on improving the state’s election security but won’t upgrade its voting machines. Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson has announced plans for using the federal assistance to strengthen voting systems ahead of the November election. Indiana was among the states and territories to receive money from the $380 million approved by Congress amid ongoing threats from Russia and others. Indiana will also spend an additional $659,000 on election security under the requirement to match 5 percent of grant funding with state money, The Indianapolis Star reported. The state money will go toward evaluating election infrastructure, conducting third-party testing, implementing email encryption and training state and county officials, according to Lawson.Full Article: Indiana's election security plans don't include new machines - The Hour.
Racing to shore up their election systems before November, states are using millions of dollars from the federal government to tighten cybersecurity, safeguard their voter registration rolls and improve communication between county and state election officers. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission released a report Tuesday showing how states plan to spend $380 million allocated by Congress last spring to strengthen voting systems amid ongoing threats from Russia and others. All but a fraction of the money has already been sent to the states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The largest chunk — roughly 36 percent — is being spent to improve cybersecurity in 41 states and territories. More than a quarter of the money will be used to replace voting equipment in 33 states and territories, although the bulk of this is unlikely to happen until after the Nov. 6 midterm elections.Full Article: States using chunk of federal $380M to safeguard voting | NWADG.
National: Majority of election security grants going toward cybersecurity, equipment upgrades | CyberScoop
About a third of federal funding meant to improve election technology will be spent on cybersecurity-related improvements, while another third will be used to upgrade old equipment, according to plans released Tuesday by states and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. In March, Congress appropriated $380 million for states to use for upgrades to election infrastructure, under the Help America Vote Act. It’s the first time the federal distributes HAVA funding since 2010. “The 380 [million] is something new in terms of additional funding, but it’s in that same realm of ensuring that our voting process remain secure and that vote of confidence remains high,” Tom Hicks, chairman of the EAC, told CyberScoop.Full Article: Majority of election security grants going toward cybersecurity, equipment upgrades.
Pop the hood of Georgia’s elections system and you’ll notice a lot of old, rusted parts, begging to be repaired or replaced. But if you ask Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee in this year’s gubernatorial contest, for a diagnosis, he’ll likely assure you that, despite a few loose screws and some oxidation on the battery, the eight-cylinder power propelling this motor has no problem carrying you from Point A to Point B—or running an election. Kemp, who elbowed Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle out of the race in the July 24 runoff election, is the overseer of Georgia’s elections engine, which will likely count well over 2 million votes to determine if he or his Democratic rival, Stacey Abrams, will claim the state’s top job after the November 6 general election. Some—including the Democratic Party of Georgia—take issue with the fact that Kemp oversees the procedures that are used to elect Georgia’s public officials, calling on him to resign from his elections czar post or recuse himself from involvement in the vote tabulation and certification. (Congresswoman Karen Handel stepped down when she held the job in 2010 to run for governor, but Cathy Cox held on to her position when she ran for governor in the 2006 Democratic primary.) Kemp has reportedly said he has no intention of resigning.Full Article: Georgia’s elections system desperately needs an update—but how? - Atlanta Magazine.
In the lobby of a North Austin hotel, Almina Cook is eating an ice cream sandwich as she and two of her deputies listen to a salesman pitch them on a soon-to-hit-the-market voting machine. Along with hundreds of other election administrators from across Texas, Cook, the top election official in Hunt County, has come to this biannual conference to get briefed by state and federal officials and shop for machines and software. Vendors get to entice election officials with private demos, dinners and other freebies. This year is particularly important for Cook; she needs to replace the county’s 13-year-old machines, which have exceeded their recommended life cycle and require constant repair. But early in the salesman’s spiel, Cook makes one thing clear: She’s just window shopping for now.Full Article: Texas Counties Are Struggling to Find Money to Replace Antiquated Voting Machines.
States across the country are in the process of receiving grants from the federal government to secure their voting systems. Earlier this year Congress approved $380 million in grants for states to improve election technology and “make certain election security improvements.” But how states use that money is up to them. In Texas, officials say they want to use the bulk of their grant to secure the state’s voter registration database. According to federal officials, Russians tried to hack a Texas election website in 2016. Dana Debeauvoir, who runs elections in Austin, Texas, as the Travis County clerk, says running elections has become increasingly more expensive and technologically complicated. She says she cast her first ballot on a lever machine — a big metal box with a bunch of tiny metal handles voters crank to select the candidate of their choice. These machines, and others, were banned by Congress when lawmakers passed the Help America Vote Act in 2002. “So they are now no longer used — also right along with punch card voting,” Debeauvoir says.Full Article: Local Officials Call Federal Election Funds 'A 10-Cent Solution To A $25 Problem'.