The Johnson County Election Board and Commissioners are cutting ties with software vendor that caused system crashes which resulted in thousands of voters waiting in lines for hours during the November 6 election. The Johnson County Commissioners voted Monday to adopt Election Board recommendations that the county terminate its contract with Omaha-based Election Systems and Software. “We just want to ensure that we have a good election,” said Johnson County Clerk Trena McGlaughlin. “We don’t want to have any issues this year. And we want to make everyone happy.” An investigation by Ball State’s VSTOP team, for the Indiana Secretary of State, determined ES&S systems were not properly set up for the high voter turnout the county saw on election day. A system slow-down quickly brought voting to a standstill at multiple voting sites across the county. Thousands of voters were left waiting in line for several hours as election officials and technical advisors struggled to get e-poll books back up to speed.Full Article: Johnson County to change election equipment before May Primary | FOX59.
Indiana: Election fixes: Officials exploring how to proceed after report says ES&S violated law | Daily Journal
More details about the fixes put in place on Election Day in November when voting technology failed to perform have come to light, and officials are asking the county commissioners to adopt a detailed list of mostly technical and financial suggestions about what to do in the future. Election Systems & Software is still the county’s election vendor, and will be providing services in the municipal elections in May and November of this year, according to its current contract with the county. But whether the county will retain the company for future elections has not been determined.Full Article: Election fixes: Officials exploring how to proceed after report says vendor violated law.
For all the worries about Russian hackers and other cyber-vandals, voting problems this week in Arizona served as a reminder that one of the biggest threats to fair elections is plain old human error. That appeared to be the case during Tuesday’s primary, when dozens of polling places in the state’s most populous county opened late because the voter verification machinery had not been set up. The Maricopa County recorder, the official in charge of running elections in and around Phoenix, said the contractor hired to connect the tablet-like devices didn’t send enough workers to complete the job on time. The contractor insisted it dispatched more people than the county requested.Full Article: Hackers? No, human error plagues Arizona primary voting.
After a frustrating day at the polls Tuesday, voters were left asking what exactly went wrong and who was to blame. Voters were delayed and detoured for hours when dozens of polling places failed to open on time during Maricopa County’s primary election, and technical issues with electronic voting machines abounded across the county. A document The Arizona Republic obtained from the county Wednesday reveals some of the problems could have stemmed partly from a misunderstanding between the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office and the contractor it hired to set up electronic voting systems at the polls.Full Article: Maricopa County election issues may have stemmed from misunderstanding.
When voting began at 6 a.m. Tuesday, 62 Maricopa County polling places were not ready for voters. The check-in equipment that allows poll workers to verify voters’ identity had not been set up, leaving some voters unable to secure ballots for hours. The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office blamed its IT contractor for the issues. The Tempe-based contractor pointed the finger back on an unprepared recorder’s office. Regardless of fault, thousands of Maricopa County voters found themselves bouncing between voting locations, casting provisional ballots or, in some cases, giving up on voting altogether. “This is not a hiccup,” Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes conceded. “This is a serious concern where voters across Maricopa County couldn’t get voting.”Full Article: Arizona voting problems: Who is to blame?.
Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and a Tempe-based technology company are trading blame for problems that caused dozens of polling places to fail to open on time Tuesday. The county hired Insight Enterprises, a global information technology contractor, to set up voter check-in equipment on Monday and provide technical support on Tuesday, the Recorder’s Office and an Insight representative agreed. But the explanations diverge from there. The check-in equipment lets poll workers verify the identity of a voter and print a custom ballot. The equipment uses an internet connection to access the voter registration database and connect to the printer. If voters cannot check in or print a ballot, they cannot vote. The Recorder’s Office said the contract called for 103 Insight employees to set up polling sites Monday, but only 73 technicians showed up, according to an email the office sent to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and county executives. Insight begs to differ.Full Article: Election officials, Insight Enterprises swap blame for voting issues.
North Carolina: New York Times story on Russian election hacking peeves North Carolina officials | The Washington Post
The New York Times never reported that election systems in Durham, N.C., had succumbed to Russian hacking. In fact, the story indicated straight-up that “no clear-cut evidence of digital sabotage has emerged, much less a Russian role in it.” Even so, the Sept. 2 front-page story by Nicole Perlroth, Michael Wines and Matthew Rosenberg did quote an election “troubleshooter” as saying something suspicious regarding irregularities on Election Day in Durham: “It felt like tampering, or some kind of cyberattack,” Susan Greenhalgh told the newspaper. There were indeed difficulties, as laid out in the lede of the story by Perlroth, et al. So-called e-poll books — essentially digital rolls that guide voting-day check-ins — malfunctioned, resulting in potential voters leaving in frustration or standing in line, annoyed. The state’s vendor for e-poll books was VR Systems, a Florida company that was targeted by Russian state hackers, according to a leaked document from the National Security Agency. Many accounts have concluded that VR Systems was “successfully infiltrated,” though the company disputes the characterizations. “Absolutely we deny it,” says VR Systems’s Ben Martin.Full Article: New York Times story on Russian election hacking peeves North Carolina officials - The Washington Post.
Election officials in Humboldt County are checking their voter data after a leaked National Security Agency document alleged that Russian operatives hacked one of the county’s voting software contractors. According to a NSA memo published Monday by the news website The Intercept, Russia’s military intelligence unit, the G.R.U., successfully hacked a Florida voting software company, VR Systems, last summer. That hack then led to a broader hacking attempt of local election boards around the country just days before the November election. Humboldt County, population 136,000, might not seem like a top target for the Russians. The far-north county, which includes the city of Eureka, is more famous for its redwoods, coastline and marijuana crop than its politics. But the county Office of Elections had a contract with elections company Hart InterCivic, and Hart used VR Systems for its electronic poll books — the devices poll workers use to check in voters at the ballot.Full Article: Humboldt County shores up voting systems after Russian hack.
New York: Onondaga among 4 New York counties to use voting software targeted by Russian hackers | syracuse.com
Onondaga County is among four New York counties that used voting software provided by a U.S. company targeted in a cyber-attack by Russia before the 2016 presidential election, election officials said Wednesday. Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland and Orange counties used the EVid software from a vendor that partnered with U.S. supplier VR Systems of Florida, said Thomas Connolly, speaking for the New York State Board of Elections. The company’s devices were used by the New York counties as electronic poll books to check voter registration, supplementing existing paper books at selected voting precincts in November as part of a state pilot program, Connolly said. The devices were never linked to live voter registration databases, and state elections officials have found no indication hackers compromised the state’s voting system, Connolly said.Full Article: Onondaga among 4 NY counties to use voting software targeted by Russian hackers | syracuse.com.
Minnesota: Secretary’s push to replace aging election equipment signed into law | Faribault Daily News
Secretary of State Steve Simon is praising a new law that will help replace Minnesota’s aging election equipment, calling it a “critical and necessary investment” to ensure voting equipment works properly and consistently in precincts all around the state. Replacing aging equipment has been a major priority of Secretary Simon’s since taking office and was signed into law May 30. The bill creates a $7 million grant fund to replace Minnesota’s aging election equipment by 2018. It provides up to a 50 percent match between the state and counties for mandatory equipment and up to a 75 percent match for electronic poll books.Full Article: Secretary’s push to replace Minnesota’s aging election equipment signed into law | Community | southernminn.com.
National: How Technology Is Shaping Voter Registration and the Election Process for States and Localities | StateTech Magazine
As Hennepin County, Minn., prepares to implement its new electronic poll book system in August, one of election officials’ main concerns has been how to train poll workers. The workers are wonderful, says Hennepin County Elections Manager Ginny Gelms, but many are older and not very comfortable using technology. Those worries proved unfounded when the poll workers in a neighboring county’s pilot project said they would return only if they could use the electronic poll books again. “That was a real eye-opener for me,” Gelms says. “It just makes their jobs so much easier that they love it.” This year’s presidential race has been unprecedented in many regards, but it’s not just the candidates who are making history. From registering voters online and nominating candidates during the conventions to casting ballots at the polls, new advances in technology continue to transform the election process. Jurisdictions throughout the country are hard at work modernizing outdated election systems, with new technologies that cut the time and cost of inputting registration data, reduce data entry errors, ensure citizens can’t vote more than once and make voting faster, easier and more convenient.Full Article: How Technology Is Shaping Voter Registration and the Election Process for States and Localities | StateTech Magazine.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will not choose a company to provide electronic poll books until after the November election. The board was expected to award a contract to either Tenex Software Solutions or KNOWiNK this month. Director Pat McDonald notified both firms in writing Monday that the board “would like to see how both Tenex and KNOWiNK preform during the November Presidential Election, not only in Ohio, but throughout other states.” The board plans to test 200 e-poll books from each vendor at voting locations across the county on Election Day, McDonald told the firms.Full Article: Cuyahoga County delays choosing electronic poll book vendor | cleveland.com.
The Porter County Election Board’s decision to purchase electronic poll books without first securing the funding has triggered a response that may result in losing more than $150,000 in taxpayer money. A fractured Porter County Council on Tuesday agreed, after a lengthy and heated discussion, to address the situation by paying off the bill for the books even though most of the equipment likely never will be used. Council President Dan Whitten, D-at large, called it an “egregious government waste” and a failed attempt to force county government to consolidate the number of polling places.Full Article: County bracing for $150,000 loss over failed poll book deal | Government and Politics | nwitimes.com.
Ohio: Board: More than one problem plagued Hamilton Co. polling places – Vendor error left out 11,000 voters | WLWT
The search for answers to the voting problems in Hamilton County a week ago has lead to both machine and man., Election leaders said they believe there is some degree of blame to assign all around. Tuesday, as they attempt to get a deeper understanding of what went wrong, they are trying to zero in on how to ensure that repairs are made in time for the March and November elections next year. In the aftermath of significant problems, they know there were computer programming mistakes, equipment failures and human error. What they don’t yet know is what percentage to give to each. “We knew there would be problems that day,” said Alex Triantafilou, who is a member of the elections board. “I was concerned just about this new technology.” … Officials said the first major problem was in the programming of the computer system.Full Article: Board: More than one problem plagued Hamilton Co. polling places | Local News - WLWT Home.
Some voters reported problems with new e-poll voter signature books at a handful of precincts on Tuesday morning. Officials said that, as always, when voters check in, the poll workers check their names against the voter registration information. The e-poll books were supposed to make that process easier, and officials said they do when they work. Problems were reported to WLWT News 5 by voters at more than a half-dozen different locations by 7:30 a.m. Some voters said that workers stopped allowing voting to take place, while others said workers stacked the completed voting sheets to wait for further word on what to do.