One of the Senate’s main cybersecurity proponents wants assurances that voting systems in the U.S. are ready for their next major threat and he’s going straight to the hardware makers to get it. In a letter, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden — an outspoken member of the Senate Intelligence Committee — called on six of the main voting machine manufacturers in the U.S. to provide details about their cybersecurity efforts to date. The request comes on the heels of emerging details around Russia’s successful attempts to hack election systems in many states. Wyden’s line of inquiry is grounded in the pursuit of details, like if a company has been breached previously without reporting the incident and how often it has conducted penetration testing in cooperation with an external security firm. … Wyden’s appeal to voting machine manufacturers is the latest piece in the ongoing conversation around election system and voting machine security following revelations from the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Because states handle elections in a variety of ways, implementing different styles of machine and overseeing their own voter rolls, just how airtight these systems are is difficult to assess.Full Article: Senator calls on voting machine makers to detail how they’ll prevent hacks | TechCrunch.
Election Systems & Software
Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he is concerned about Maryland’s new voting system “collapsing” next year due to problems found during testing, but the state’s elections administrator said she was confident in the system, which will have paper ballots as a backup. The voting system came up unexpectedly at a Board of Public Works meeting, when Treasurer Nancy Kopp, a Democrat and one of three board members, asked how the state will manage voter education and outreach after a nearly $1 million contract was rejected by the board several months ago. Hogan, also a board member, said he was more concerned about the condition of the overall voting system, rather than what he described as a public relations campaign. … Linda Lamone, the state elections administrator, said some problems were found during testing, and elections officials are working to correct them. Lamone said officials haven’t verified exactly why there was a problem registering about 3,000 votes in Howard County. She said it appears a memory stick that was taken out of a voting unit and put into another device wasn’t recognized when returned to the system, because it apparently sensed there had been tampering.Full Article: Hogan questions reliability of new voting system | The Herald.
Press Release: Cleveland County, N.C. Tests Ballot On Demand Printing During Early Voting | Election Systems & Software
As jurisdictions gear up for November 3 and next year’s Presidential Election, many are tasked with a complex expenditure— purchasing ballots for voters. By law, many jurisdictions are required to purchase enough ballots for 100% of their registered voters, a significant investment by itself. When you factor in low voter turnout, however, it isn’t always clear how many ballots a jurisdiction truly “needs”. How can elected officials comply with their election laws while still managing their cost per voter? Election System & Software’s Ballot on Demand solutions are just the ticket. Each Balotar prints the correct ballot as needed, eliminating the potential for ballots to go un-used, while also ensuring jurisdictions don’t run out of ballots on Election Day. The Balotar is an accurate, efficient and highly cost effective method for jurisdictions to manage the ballot printing and distribution for all of the choices voters have to cast their ballot. For more information about ballot on demand visit www.essvote.com/products/ballot-on-demand/or read below about Cleveland County’s pilot of the Balotar Compact printer from the Shelby Star. Early voters for the 2015 election in Cleveland County will get a chance to test out a new voting system.Full Article: Cleveland County, N.C. Tests Ballot On Demand Printing During Early Voting | Election Systems & Software.
The hot elections topic in Ohio can be summed up in two words: electronic pollbooks. With the recent state-provided funding for the purpose of upgrading and automating voter check-in with electronic pollbook solutions, many counties are now evaluating their options. The ExpressPoll from Election Systems & Software provides a proven solution— meeting county’s voter validation needs. With the ExpressPoll system already implemented in 27 counties (and counting) ES&S isn’t a newcomer to the Ohio elections sphere. Richland County for example, has used the ExpressPoll electronic pollbook family of products for eight years. When asked, their Director of Elections, Paulette Hankins had the following to say about the ExpressPoll:
“We have used the Express Poll Book system in Richland County for the past eight years with great success. It was a very easy process to train our Poll Workers, and we were especially pleased with the elimination of any poll worker error in determining which ballot style to issue to the voters. The Express Poll system creates the correct ballot style according to the voters’ registration records.”
For 30 years, ES&S has been providing voting solutions for the State of Ohio. Our existing, experienced service and support structure makes us a valuable asset for Ohio counties when implementing new pollbook technology. The eight Ohio residents we employ are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of jurisdictions and their constituents, being a part of the voting public themselves. These individuals also have the full support of our 400 employee strong company, ensuring their attention can be focused on local customers and their needs.Full Article: Trending in Ohio: Electronic Pollbooks | Election Systems & Software.
We’re less than a year away until the 2016 primary election, and the Guam Election Commission is taking steps to ensure every voter including individuals with disabilities can cast their vote independently with the use of new technology. While they continue to make progress, the GEC is still not fully compliant with federal accessibility requirements. “We have assistive technology packets throughout all the 21 polling places at every precinct, but we still don’t, if a person who cannot see, comes into vote, they still cannot vote independently,” said executive director Maria Pangelinan. She says that may change as the commission is currently looking into using a new ballot marking device to help people cast their vote privately and independently. It’s called the Election Systems & Software’s AutoMark system.Full Article: Assistive technology coming for island elections - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand..
Press Release: Online Voter Registration: The Next Wave of Election Modernization | Election Systems & Software
As election administrators look for new ways to cut costs and improve the voter’s experience, one area is producing quick results: the switch to online voter registration (VR). As of August 6, 2015— 22 states offer online registration, with another five plus the District of Columbia passing legislation to create online VR systems to be implemented at a later time. Traditionally the voter registration process begins when a new voter fills out a paper form and submits it to election officials. The officials then confirm the registration is valid and enters the information into the registration system. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 broadened the availability of these forms, requiring states to offer voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), disability centers, public schools and public libraries. Online VR follows the same path, except voters fill out a form via their state’s secure VR site instead of a paper version. The electronic registration is then electronically submitted to election officials. Validation of each registration is done by comparing the provided information against DMV records. If information doesn’t match, the application is forwarded for further review and action.
Only four Arkansas counties will have the state’s new voting equipment in time for the primary elections, Rob Hammons, elections division director for the secretary of state’s office, told the Arkansas County Election Commissions Association on Tuesday. Hammons spoke as a part of the association’s meeting at the Holiday Inn in Little Rock near Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field. About 200 election officials from across the state attended. Although the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 151 of 2015, allowing the secretary of state’s office to replace election commission equipment for up to $30 million, no money was set aside to pay for the equipment. “So we had the funding as far as the appropriation, but we never got the check,” Hammons said, adding that unfunded acts are common and occur when lawmakers must prioritize the state budget. “And that’s fine,” he said. “That happens all the time.”Full Article: New gear on hold for all but 4 counties.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams is setting new ground rules for Colorado elections. “We are making careful preparations for the 2016 election cycle in order to ensure Colorado sets the standard for access and integrity,” Williams stated in a press release. The changes include the establishment of a Bipartisan Election Advisory Committee that will work to ensure that elections are accessible and fair. The new rules also aim to up security for third-party personal delivery of ballots and clarify the appointment of election watchers. Military members and civilians who are overseas have been allowed to turn in ballots electronically if the area they are in has unreliable mail service. Under the new rules, electronic voting will only be allowed if there is no other feasible way to get a ballot in on time, and the electronic voter will need to sign an affirmation stating that they understand that rule.
Press Release: Colorado SoS Wayne Williams approves pilot program for ES&S and three other vendors | Election Systems & Software
There are many benefits to a state selecting a uniform voting system including standardized training, improved reporting across jurisdictions and better buying power. Colorado recognized these benefits and more earlier this year, with the Secretary of State forming the Pilot Election Review Committee in March to explore implementing a statewide voting vendor. Tuesday SOS Williams announced certification for the four voting systems the committee will be evaluating.Full Article: COLORADO SOS WAYNE WILLIAMS APPROVES PILOT PROGRAM FOR ES&S AND THREE OTHER VENDORS | Election Systems & Software.
Press Release: Monongalia County First In Nation To Have Every Voter Use ExpressVote And DS200 Technology To Cast Votes | Election Systems & Software
Election Systems & Software (ES&S) hit two milestones on July 2 thanks to a unanimous decision by the Monongalia County Commission. Monongalia will be the first county in West Virginia to purchase our ExpressVote® Universal Voting System as well as DS200® in-precinct vote scanners and tabulators, furthering their reputation as a technological leader in the state. This county will also be the first in the nation to have every voter use an ExpressVote when marking their vote selections. ExpressPoll® Electronic Pollbooks will also be used, although Jackson County, West Virginia precedes them in this purchase area. While our ExpressVote and DS200 in-precinct voting system configuration is the most widely used in vote centers and on Election Day, most customers use the ExpressVote as their ADA compliant voting solution. Monongalia will blaze the trail as the first to implement our visionary voting approach for every eligible voter from start to finish. Voters will check-in on ExpressPoll tablets and receive a paper activation card. Once inserted into the ExpressVote, each voter will use the touch screen interface to mark and confirm their selections, receiving a verifiable paper record upon completion. This record has printed text, identifying a voter’s selections, as well as an optical scan barcode that contains each selection. From there they simply feed their paper record into the DS200, where they receive on-screen confirmation that their vote has been cast.Full Article: Monongalia County First In Nation To Have Every Voter Use ExpressVote And DS200 Technology To Cast Votes | Election Systems & Software.
Florida: New Okaloosa County voting equipment could cost as much as $1.2 million | Crestview News Bulletin
County taxpayers will soon have to buy as much as $1.2 million in new vote tabulators, software and related equipment. Though state law requires all voting be done by paper ballot by 2020, Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said he will ask the Board of County Commissioners to purchase new equipment this year. “The current equipment we’re using is 18 years old,” Lux said. “In the last election we had a noticeable failure of some of that equipment. The equipment has a lifetime of about 10-12 years. “It’s computerized. Are you still using the computer you bought in 1997?” Lux said.Full Article: New Okaloosa County voting equipment could cost as much as $1.2 million - Government - Crestview News Bulletin.
Rhode Island: Board of Elections apprised of loss of authority over voting machines | Providence Journal
After approving a contract with the vendor that keeps the state’s obsolete voting equipment functional, members of the Board of Elections on Thursday expressed dismay that they had not been told they were losing the authority to buy new voting machines. Robert Kando, executive director of the Board of Elections, did not attend the board’s 3:30 p.m. meeting, although Elections Director Robert B. Rapoza was there, as were six of its seven commissioners. Rapoza outlined for the commissioners how legislation passed Wednesday by both the House and the Senate was changing their duties. In identical bills, H-6312 and S-0999, he said, the secretary of state, instead of the Board of Elections, would have the authority to set the specifications for the purchase and oversight of new voting machines.Full Article: R.I. Board of Elections apprised of loss of authority over voting machines - News - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI.
New voting system equipment for the state of Arkansas has been selected, but Mississippi County will likely not implement the new paper ballot system until November 2016. Secretary of State Mark Martin has chosen Election Systems & Software (ES&S) as the vendor for any state-purchased integrated voting system equipment going forward. This announcement comes after months of evaluation and analysis and input from state and county officials.Full Article: Blytheville Courier News: Local News: New voting system to roll out in the fall (06/19/15).
Arkansas must be more aggressive in replacing antiquated ballot counters and touch-screen voting machines or risk delayed results and equipment problems in the 2016 elections, election officials said Wednesday. Election commissioners and coordinators from Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Madison and Washington counties met with several state legislators for a roundtable covering voting equipment, election schedules and other issues. Those from Benton, Crawford and Washington counties in particular said the plan to replace all 75 counties’ decade-old equipment doesn’t have the needed urgency. “We need answers,” said Bill Taylor, a commissioner for Crawford County. “If we’re going to do it, we need to just do it. We need to proceed.”Full Article: Northwest Arkansas counties urge quick turn to new voting equipment.
Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin is scaling back plans to replace the state’s voting machines for next year’s primary and says the new equipment will instead be deployed in just four counties. Martin on Wednesday said Boone, Columbia, Garland and Sebastian counties will be part of a pilot program to replace voting equipment ahead of the March 1 primary. Martin last week selected Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software to replace the state’s voting equipment.
Volusia County will switch to a new voting system next year for the first time in more than two decades. Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall said Tuesday she will start contract negotiations with Election Systems & Software, one of two companies to put in a bid to be the county’s provider. Dominion Voting Systems, which has been the county’s vendor since 1994, was the other company. But McFall said the package offered by ES&S surpassed anything Dominion could bring to the table. “They’re clearly the winner,” she said of ES&S.Full Article: Volusia looks to buy new voting equipment for 2016 elections | News-JournalOnline.com.
The state Board of Election Commissioners on Wednesday approved three pieces of voting equipment apiece for Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software and California-based Unisyn Voting Solutions to make them eligible to be purchased by Secretary of State Mark Martin for the state’s 75 counties. With Board Chairman A.J. Kelly abstaining, the seven-member board decided that the voting equipment meets the requirements of state law. The equipment consists of two ballot scanners and an electronic marking device used in combination with the scanners “as a combo voting machine,” for each company, according to board records. These pieces of equipment would allow voters to cast paper ballots or mark their votes on electronic screens.Full Article: Voting equipment OK'd for state bid.
Virginia: Henrico to spend $1.2 million to replace outdated voting equipment | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Henrico County has agreed to pay $1.2 million to buy new voting equipment after state authorities decided hundreds of machines the county already owns are no longer fit for use. Registrar Mark J. Coakley announced the purchase to the county’s Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting. The State Board of Elections voted earlier this month to disallow the use of WinVote touch-screen voting machines due to security concerns. Henrico owned about 800 of the machines and only a handful of others. The county will replace the touch-screen machines with optical scan devices. To use the new machines, voters will fill out paper ballots, then feed them into the machines.Full Article: Henrico to spend $1.2 million to replace outdated voting equipment - Richmond.com: Henrico County News.
North Carolina: Cost to switch to paper ballots in Henderson County triples to $3 million | Times-News
Henderson County commissioners thought they were looking at roughly $1 million to comply with a state law requiring the Board of Elections to switch to paper ballots. The estimated cost of replacing its current touchscreen machines has now jumped to $3 million. During a discussion of the unfunded mandate earlier this month, a majority of commissioners said they nonetheless want to hold off on setting aside any money for new voting machines in the coming 2015-16 fiscal year. “I would just say to you that this is a moving target,” advised County Manager Steve Wyatt. “I have no confidence in these numbers; I had no confidence in the previous numbers. What I am confident is right now, the law says you’ve got to change the machines.”Full Article: Cost to switch to paper ballots triples to $3 million | BlueRidgeNow.com.
Benton County’s election commissioners favor staying with the company that now provides electronic voting machines to the state, saying it appears best suited to meet the county’s needs. Arkansas is looking at replacing voting machines and systems now in use as they approach the end of their 10-year life span. The state uses voting machines and equipment from Election Systems & Software, one of three companies vying for Arkansas’ business. A measure to appropriate $30 million for new voting equipment is pending in the state Legislature. Counties could receive new equipment this summer if funding is approved, said Kim Dennison, the county’s election coordinator. The commissioners have attended demonstrations of new voting systems by ES&S and by Unisyn Voting Solutions. A presentation by Hart Intercivic, the third company, is set for 9 a.m. today at the Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville.Full Article: Benton County officials eye new voting machines | NWADG.