Local officials say they’re more optimistic that new voter registration software will be ready by March 11. Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced the statewide software rollout in 2018. Florida-based company Tenex is making the system on a $4 million contract. Election officials from several local counties had expressed concerns that the software wouldn’t be functional by March 11. But Bannock County Clerk Jason Dixon says a Thursday meeting in Boise between county clerks from around the state and the Secretary of State’s Office was “very encouraging.” Dixon says a software update fixing 35 system issues should be rolled out in the next few days, and training for counties across the state on the new software begins next week. Dixon says that while the Secretary of State’s Office hasn’t met benchmarks in the past, he has “faith and hope” that this time will be different.Full Article: Local officials now optimistic about voter registration software | Local News | kpvi.com.
Maryland: Elections officials drops plan to make largest counties share data with state over wireless network on Election Day | Kevin Rector/Baltimore Sun
Maryland elections officials said Friday they will no longer require the state’s largest jurisdictions to use a wireless network to transmit voter information to the state during its upcoming primary and general elections, after the network caused a significant slowdown during voting in the special 7th Congressional District primary. Baltimore City and Montgomery County promptly opted out. Howard County said it would keep using the network, pending a review. The network, which cost about $2 million in federal funds to set up, was used for the first time Tuesday in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County, where voters were electing nominees to fill the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings’ term in the House of Representatives. The Maryland Board of Elections said it could return the network to service in the future but won’t require its use in the April 28 primary or in the general election on Nov. 3, when voter turnout is expected to be far larger than Tuesday. “We’re just making a decision for the 2020 elections. 2022 is two years from now. We see the need and benefit of it, so I would say it’s not scrapped. It’s just been postponed,” said Nikki Charlson, the board’s deputy administrator. “We always hope that every voter has a good voting experience, and when they don’t, we take that seriously, and that’s what we’ve done.” The network connects tablet-like pollbooks that poll workers use to check in voters, allowing the workers to transmit information to the elections board in real time.Full Article: Maryland drops plan to make largest counties share data with state over wireless network on Election Day - Baltimore Sun.
Pennsylvania: Northampton County Election Commission Board says no to electronic poll books | Peter Blanchard/The Morning Call
Fears of another Election Day fiasco in Northampton County have public officials feeling uneasy about implementing modernized voting technology — even at the risk of waiting weeks after votes are cast for official election results. Despite the urging of Northampton County Director of Administration Charles Dertinger, the election commission board voted 4-1 Thursday against recommending a roughly quarter-million dollar purchase of 350 electronic poll books ahead of the April 28 primary election. Last week, Tenex Software Solutions representatives provided a demonstration of the electronic poll books — iPads containing Apple’s encryption technology and reconfigured to disable Wi-Fi capabilities — to election board members and County Council last week. Dertinger requested the board make its decision at that meeting, but board Chairwoman Maudeania Hornik said it would be imprudent to rush into a decision given the numerous issues with new voting machines in the November election.Full Article: Northampton County Election Commission Board says no to electronic poll books - The Morning Call.
Pennsylvania: More new electronics for voting in Northampton County? Election officials hit pause. | Kurt Bresswein/Lehigh Valley Live
Northampton County officials are considering spending about a quarter of a million dollars on specially configured iPads to check in voters at the polls beginning with the 2020 primary election. County Executive Lamont McClure’s administration sprang the proposal on the county election commission during its quarterly meeting Thursday. Director of Administration Charles Dertinger was looking for a recommendation on the purchase to bring to county council, calling the timeline tight to get the new ePollbooks ordered and delivered. Commission Chairwoman Maudenia Hornik, elected by her colleagues to the leadership role at the start of the meeting, pushed back on having to make a decision immediately. She wants to do her own research on the options available, especially after the problems the county had with new touchscreen paper-ballot voting machines in November’s election. “We just made a huge purchase and we’ve got egg on our face,” Hornik said during Thursday’s meeting at the courthouse and government center in Easton. “I didn’t know we were voting tonight. … i just feel as if I don’t want to do this hastily.”Full Article: More new electronics for voting in Northampton County? Election officials hit pause. - lehighvalleylive.com.
North Dakota: New electronic pollbooks set to go out to North Dakota counties | Jack Dura/Bismarck Tribune
raining sessions on new electronic pollbooks are planned throughout the next week and a half for North Dakota election officials. The new devices — 990 of them — will be distributed to North Dakota’s 53 counties for use at polling locations after being delivered to the state in February. Pollbooks are records of voters of a precinct. The devices, which resemble an iPad, will speed up what has been a paper process for most counties in checking voters and add an element of security, according to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger. “One of the things when it comes to election integrity is that once you come in and show your ID, that automatically goes back into our central voter file and so if you attempted to vote, let’s say, in Minot or drive up to Killdeer or some other place, they would know that you voted already,” Jaeger said Monday. North Dakota has no voter registration, but maintains a central voter file which is essentially a database of who has voted.Full Article: New electronic pollbooks set to go out to North Dakota counties | Government, Politics and Elections | bismarcktribune.com.
Texas: Electronic pollbook problems cost Dallas County taxpayers an additional $6 million | Lori Brown/KDFW
FOX 4 has discovered Dallas County spent millions of dollars on polling equipment that doesn’t work securely with its voting machines. Millions more will need to be shelled out to fix the problem by the March primary election. Dallas County bought the new equipment in order to have new voting centers so voters can vote anywhere in the county on Election Day. But it turns out $6 million were wasted on poll books made by one company that can’t securely function with voting machines made by a different company. It turns out Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch says new equipment unveiled in the November 2019 election could have been vulnerable to hackers. “We purchased something entirely too quickly, and it ended up costing taxpayers now additional millions of dollars,” he said. “Largely because of security features. In fact, we had an unsecure election.”Full Article: Voting equipment problems cost Dallas County taxpayers an additional $6 million | FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth.
Indiana: New voting machines cause some snags, delays in St. Joseph County elections | Caleb Bauer/South Bend Tribune
The implementation of new voting machines for Tuesday’s election came with hiccups and technical issues in St. Joseph County. Early results showed the wrong number of precincts reporting, technical malfunctions on the iPads used to scan voter IDs caused delays, many poll workers were unfamiliar with the new voting machines, and votes for a write-in candidate in South Bend were not immediately tallied. Still, members of the county Election Board were adamant that the problems didn’t impact vote counts. Rita Glenn, the county clerk and an election board member, said plans are already being put in place to provide more training for poll workers for future elections and to rectify the software issues that surfaced Tuesday. “We need to do a little bit more thorough training and get more people involved,” Glenn said. “Next year will be a bigger election, so we’re going to make sure we’re addressing issues ahead of time.” For about 20 minutes on Tuesday night, the election board’s YouTube live stream of results, which The Tribune and other local media use to release information to the public, showed incorrect tallies of the number of precincts reporting.Full Article: New voting machines cause some snags, delays in St. Joseph County elections | Local | southbendtribune.com.
Georgia: Previously redacted Georgia election security document made public | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Georgia secretary of state’s office acknowledged Thursday that a vendor had improperly redacted a purchasing document detailing security features of the state’s new $107 million voting system. The unredacted 143-page document was posted on the secretary of state’s website Thursday. The document, which explains “high level security” of the state’s new voting check-in iPads, doesn’t compromise the integrity of the system, according to the secretary of state’s office. The document was made public “in the spirit of good governance and transparency” after the secretary of state’s office was alerted about the redactions, said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. “Our new voting system, including new Poll Pads, are our most secure system to date,” Fuchs said. The iPads will be provided by a company called KnowInk, which is working with Dominion Voting Systems to install the new voting technology statewide before the March 24 presidential primary.Full Article: Previously redacted Georgia election security document made public.
New York: With Under a Month To Go, Board of Elections Mum on Shift to Electronic Poll Books | Ethan Geringer-Sameth/Gotham Gazette
With just one month before New York rolls out early voting for the first time, it is unclear exactly where the city’s Board of Elections stands on acquiring and readying new technology considered essential to the new voting system. BOE commissioners and staff have been discussing the acquisition of electronic poll books at board meetings since January, when the State Legislature passed and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law establishing early voting and authorizing counties to purchase the new tech, which enables implementation of early voting. In June, the State Board of Elections approved three vendors that counties could contract with, and the same month the city BOE appeared to have chosen one. But as of late September, the city board has been silent on its progress toward purchasing the 10,000 e-poll books it says it requires, much less loading them with the voter rolls and training staff to use them.Full Article: With Under a Month To Go, Board of Elections Mum on Shift to Electronic Poll Books.
Georgia: Check-in computers stolen in Atlanta hold statewide voter data | Mark Niesse and Arielle Kass/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Two computers that are used to check in voters were stolen from a west Atlanta precinct hours before polls opened Tuesday for a city school board election. Officials replaced the computers before voters arrived, and the election wasn’t disrupted, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.The express poll computers contain names, addresses, birth dates and driver’s license information for every voter in the state, said Richard Barron, Fulton County’s elections director. They don’t include Social Security numbers. They are password-protected, and the password changes for every election.The computers, which were in a locked and sealed case, haven’t been recovered.Poll workers discovered the burglary early Tuesday morning at the Grove Park Recreation Center near Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.Atlanta police said they were first called to the recreation center at 12:30 a.m. on an alarm call. They found an unlocked door but saw no one inside. When election employees arrived, they told police “the kitchen had been ransacked,” a microwave had been moved to a different room, food items were missing and the express poll machines were missing, Atlanta police Sgt. John Chafee said. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said he’s concerned about the stolen election equipment. “They may not have realized what they were stealing. They may have just thought they were stealing computer hardware of some sort, but they stole a whole lot more than they thought,” Raffensperger said. “They’re in a whole lot of trouble. There will be a thorough investigation.”Full Article: Voter check-in computers were stolen from an Atlanta precinct.
Pennsylvania: Elections officials touted new electronic poll books. Now the city says they don’t work right. | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia was supposed to use new, electronic poll books in its election this November, allowing poll workers to search for voters on an iPad and sign them in electronically, rather than use thick paper books. The change was supposed to reduce human error, and to make checking in voters faster and easier. City officials promised it would to help troubleshoot problems, such as providing correct information to voters who show up in the wrong polling place. It was supposed to, eventually, provide real-time turnout numbers from every polling site across the city. Turns out the system was not ready for prime time. Instead, “the city observed several problems with KNOWiNK’s pollbook system” during a test election conducted last month, the city’s Acting Chief Administrative Officer, Stephanie Tipton, said in a letter Tuesday to the acting board of elections.Full Article: Philly elections officials touted new electronic poll books. Now the city says they don’t work right..
North Carolina: Board of Elections asking if North Carolina voting software company was hacked in 2016 | WSOC
The North Carolina State Board of Elections is asking a voting software company if it was hacked by Russian cyber attackers in 2016. The NCSBE wants to know if VR Systems is “Vendor 1” in the Mueller report. The report indicates that russian intelligence successfully “installed malware on the company network.” The letter from NCSBE asks VR Systems for “immediate, written assurance regarding the security” of its network. Nearly two dozen counties in the state used VR Systems in 2016, including Mecklenburg. “What we use it for on is the back end so that we can record provisional ballots, transfers, that sort of stuff that allows us to do it uniformly through 195 different precincts,” Mecklenburg County Board of Election Director Michael Dickerson said. VR Systems is based in Tallahassee and used to have an office in Matthews. Emails to the company were not returned.Full Article: MUELLER REPORT NC VOTING COMPANY: Mueller Report: NCSBE asking if NC voting software company was hacked in 2016 | WSOC-TV.
New York: Budget allocates $24.7M to improve voting process — publicly funded elections delayed | The Legislative Gazette
Election reformers are seeing mixed results in the new state budget passed this week. On one hand, New Yorkers will now be able to vote before Election Day, register to vote online, and polls will open earlier for upstate primaries. Additionally, employers will be required to give all workers three hours of paid time off to vote, and with a new $14.7 million allocation, voters will be able to sign in at polling places using an electronic sign-in book. The e-poll books keep track of data such as voter registration, voting history and verification and identification of voters. This will bring the state’s system up to date with 21st century technology. More than half of the states in the U.S. use electronic polling books already. On the other hand, many good-government groups and activists are angry that the budget did not establish a system of publicly financed campaigns that rely on a small-donor matching system, coupled with lowered contribution limits. Instead, a commission will study the feasibility of such a system for legislative and statewide offices, and will issue a report in December. Proposed by the Fair Elections for New York campaign, a small-donor matching system would give a voice to New Yorkers who cannot afford to donate large sums of money to political candidates. It is also seen as a system that allows more people to run for political office.Full Article: Budget allocates $24.7M to improve voting process — publicly funded elections delayed – The Legislative Gazette.
Some voters in Johnson County, Ind., found themselves waiting for hours to cast their ballots in last year’s midterm elections, but not because of a massive surge in turnout or malfunctioning voting machines. What struggled to work were the electronic poll books used to check a voter’s registration, triggering long lines at polling stations. A state investigation determined that the vendor for the e-poll books, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), was responsible for the technical issue, and the Johnson County election board ultimately voted to terminate the contract. ES&S is one of the biggest voting machine vendors in the country. And despite the report’s findings, other counties in Indiana have continued to work with it, including some that recently signed new contracts. Experts told The Hill that the scenario underscores the new issues that local election officials have to consider as they juggle the benefits and security risks of voting technology, particularly in light of heightened concerns over election hacking.Full Article: Voting tech creates growing concern for local officials | TheHill.
As Democrats in the state Legislature continue a rapid pace of passing legislation to start the new session, the state Senate seems poised to advance another round of election and voting reforms, including approving the use of electronic poll books to administer elections. Electronic poll books, used in at least 34 states and the District of Columbia, are a fairly simple but significant instrument in making elections more efficient, experts and advocates argue. They make voting faster, preventing long lines at polling sites, save costs in the long run, and are easier to update and maintain compared to the paper lists currently used in New York. Some advocates also say e-poll books, as they’re often called, are essential in implementing improvements to voter registration processes, which the state Legislature put into motion last month, and helpful in the implementation of the significant shift of early voting, also part of the recently-passed package.Full Article: Electronic Poll Books Next Step in New York Election Overhaul.
The Johnson County Clerk’s Office is looking into switching e-pollbook vendors before the May primary, but the clock is ticking. Electronic pollbooks, which poll workers use to check in voters at vote centers and make sure they have the right ballot, failed on Election Day, and the county last week asked its long-time vendor, Election Systems and Software, to cover the costs of purchasing new e-pollbooks from a different vendor while continuing to use ES & S’s voting machines. “We have asked (ES & S) to pay for it, but as of right now, they have not committed to that,” County Clerk Trena McLaughlin said on Thursday. “We’re going to have to do something.” McLaughlin and her staff are now weighing the other options because the county needs new e-pollbooks, she said. Election Systems and Software promised it would make things right with the county after it failed more than 52,000 Johnson County voters in November, but so far has not delivered on that promise.Full Article: County looks to switch e-poll book vendors, but company won’t pay.
Few people do things perfectly on the first try. There’s a learning curve, whether it’s a gymnast tumbling across an arena floor, a professional baseball player throwing his first pitch … or managing a data system essential to Mohave County’s 2018 General Election. That last example has been a cause for concern with Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson after an almost 36-hour delay in obtaining voter registration data after this year’s election. The delay was caused by e-poll staff unfamiliar with the county’s electronic polling software. Now Johnson has requested reimbursement from e-polling provider Robis Inc. for the county’s lost time. Mohave County began its contract in 2016 with Robis Inc, with the company acting as Mohave County’s vendor for electronic poll books, using a software known as Ask Ed. According to Johnson, data collection from Mohave County’s e-poll book software was seamless in 2016. The previous project manager left Robis in 2018, however, and a new project manager was assigned to Mohave County.Full Article: Sup. Johnson expresses concerns over ballot software | Kingman Daily Miner | Kingman, AZ.
Arizona: Why new technology at polling sites could be a blessing or a curse this Election Day | Arizona Republic
Experts warn new technology intended to make voting on Election Day faster and easier also comes with new risks that could contribute to the problems it was intended to solve. And some of those experts say the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office hasn’t demonstrated it’s prepared for the myriad things that can go wrong. “Every other jurisdiction that I know of, except for Maricopa it sounds like, has a backup plan … to make sure you’re not just turning voters away or making them stand in line until you figure out what the technical problem is,” said Joe Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It sounds like (the recorder’s office) isn’t doing the right kind of contingency planning.” The recorder’s office has come under scrutiny since August’s primary election when 62 voting centers failed to open on time because the machines used to check in voters at the polling sites, known as electronic “SiteBooks,” hadn’t been set up.Full Article: How technology could fail Election Day and what's being done to plan.
A big change is in store for many Rhode Island voters Wednesday as they check in at polling locations. The board of elections gave ABC6 News a demo of the new electronic poll books which will be rolled out. Basically, instead of those old binders with your name and address you’ll just have to present your photo identification. The information is then scanned into an iPad where they verify you’re the right person and in the right place. If you’re not in the right place, the device can text you the address of where you’re supposed to be. Officials say this new technology has been shown to cut down on wait times and increase data accuracy. “You’re information is going to be brought up extremely quickly so that poll workers don’t have to flip through hundreds of pages to try and find your name. It’s going to show up within seconds,” said Rob Rock, Director of Elections with the Secretary of State’s Office.Full Article: Electronic poll books rolling out in RI - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather.
Voters in precincts across the state may notice something new when they visit their polling locations to vote in next week’s primary elections. Instead of long, alphabetized lists of registered voters, poll workers will now use digital tablets that can pull up a voter’s information and confirm receipt of a ballot with a simple scan of a photo ID. The technology, called a Poll Pad, was first piloted in select precincts in Rhode Island in 2016 and will be implemented statewide for the first time next week. Poll workers tested out the new system during a training class held at Woonsocket City Hall Aug. 23. As Amy Farrell, a trainer with the Rhode Island Board of Elections, points out, the technology eliminates the need for paper poll books along with much of the human error that can come along with the manual check-in process.Full Article: New Poll Pad technology set for statewide rollout | The Valley Breeze.