electronic voting

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New Jersey: Progress Seen in Test of Paper-Trail voting Machines that Allow Audit of Results | NJ Spotlight

Review of midterm election offers assurance that electronic vote counts are reliable, but lawmakers show limited interest in deploying the technology statewide. New Jersey’s first pilot tests of voting machines that provide a way to verify results proved successful in the last election, and now some officials are looking forward to expanding testing later. Typically, elections with state Assembly seats topping the ticket — like this coming fall — have low turnouts and so make this an ideal time to roll out new machines. These machines include a paper ballot alongside an electronic screen which both allows voters to check that their choices were properly marked and keeps a paper trail for the elections board. Fewer people casting ballots should help reduce the wait some may experience as voters who may be confused by the new technology take more time on the machine.

Full Article: Progress Seen in Test of Paper-Trail voting Machines that Allow Audit of Results - NJ Spotlight.

Congo: A shambolic, unfair election, two years late – Who will win the count? | The Economist

Standing on a chair in a shabby classroom, a technician peels the plastic off the end of a cable with his teeth and attaches it to some exposed wires that dangle around a light bulb. “Soon the machine will work again,” he says cheerfully to a queue of voters, most of whom have waited for more than five hours. Across Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, hundreds of voting machines did not work on polling day, December 30th. The electronic tablets, nicknamed machines à voler (stealing machines), did little to redeem their dodgy reputation. A lot of voters, unfamiliar with touchscreen technology, struggled to use them. Officials from the electoral commission, widely believed to be in President Joseph Kabila’s pocket, offered unsolicited help. Observers feared they were nudging people to vote for the president’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

Full Article: Congo has a shambolic, unfair election, two years late - Who will win the count?.

Georgia: Will Georgia Double Down on Non-Transparent, Vulnerable Election Machines? | WhoWhatWhy

How could Georgia make its current voting system worse? Officials seem to have found a way. Even before the 2018 midterm election, the Peach State had achieved notoriety based on, among other things, its use of hackable paperless voting machines. Paperless voting machines are considered an especially attractive target for hackers and corrupt insiders because they provide no independent paper record of voter intent that can be used to determine whether electronic tallies are legitimate. Thus, Georgia is one of just a handful of states that still exclusively use such paperless machines. The good news is that Georgia, which was the first state in the country to deploy paperless machines statewide, has finally decided to replace these machines. But Georgia’s newly elected Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger (R), hopes to replace them not with hand-marked paper ballots and scanners (as virtually all independent cybersecurity election experts recommend), but rather with touchscreen ballot-marking devices, a prime example of which is the ExpressVote system from Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S). The ExpressVote is the specific system that Governor-elect Brian Kemp (R) began promoting last year. ES&S is Georgia’s current vendor.

Full Article: Will Georgia Double Down on Non-Transparent, Vulnerable Election Machines? - WhoWhatWhy.

Bangladesh: In A First, Electronic Voting Machines For Bangladesh General Elections | NDTV

Bangladesh made use of electronic voting machines for the first time in a general election, though only on a limited scale, a move which received mixed responses from the voters amid reports of glitches in some booths.
Out of the 299 parliamentary constituencies that went to polls, six saw the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), a regular feature in India since decades. Voting for the 11th national election began with the machines being used in the six seats selected through lottery. These are: Dhaka-6, Dhaka-13, Chattogram-9, Rangpur-3, Khulna-2 and Satkhira-2. The six seats comprises over 2.1 million voters. The results from these six seats could be announced within hours after the voting ends, Bangladeshi media reported.

Full Article: In A First, Electronic Voting Machines For Bangladesh General Elections.

India: Elections in the world’s largest democracy have serious technology issues | Quartz

Technology seems to be tripping up the electoral process in the world’s largest democracy with disturbing frequency. Of late, two key issues have threatened the right to franchise of many of India’s 800 million voters. One is a software that seems to be marking genuine voters’ names for deletion from the electoral rolls. The other is electronic voting machines (EVMs), which some believe are vulnerable to tampering. While complaints relating to these issues have done the rounds for years, the latest bout, involving a large number of such grievances, was sparked during the recent elections to five Indian state legislative assemblies. The most egregious complaints occurred in the south-central state of Telangana. On polling day (Dec.07) in the state, many voters were shocked to find their names missing from the electoral rolls. This followed the election commission of India’s (ECI) admission weeks before that up to 2.2 million names had been deleted by its software for being supposed duplicates.Some people, including international badminton ace Jwala Gutta, tweeted #whereismyvote in frustration.

Full Article: EVMs and Aadhaar-linking software threaten elections in India — Quartz India.

Congo: Fire destroys thousands of Congo voting machines in capital | Associated Press

An early-morning fire in Congo’s capital destroyed thousands of voting machines just 10 days before the presidential election, officials said Thursday, saying the blaze appeared to be criminal in nature but vowing that it would not disrupt the vote. Congo’s first use of voting machines on Dec. 23, a rarity in Africa, has caused concerns among the opposition, diplomats and experts about possible manipulation in favor of President Joseph Kabila’s preferred successor. Kabila is stepping aside after taking power in 2001. The electoral commission said the fire broke out at a warehouse in Kinshasa, adding that it was too early to declare the cause or the extent of the damage.

Full Article: Fire destroys thousands of Congo voting machines in capital.

Tennessee: Report: Voting paper trail still needed in Tennessee | Associated Press

A state government group is renewing its call for Tennessee to keep a paper trail of voters’ ballots roughly 10 years after coming out with a similar recommendation that resulted in little change.
Just 14 of the state’s 95 counties produce some sort of a paper record for independent recounts and audits, according to the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The group first urged changes to the state’s election system in 2007, when it found only two counties had such requirements. All the other counties use direct recording electronic voting machines with touch screens that do not produce a paper record that can be recounted and audited independent of the voting machine’s software. “Although ensuring that elections are safe and secure is not a new challenge, as technology and election systems have evolved, so has the risk to security,” the report reads. “The 2016 election cycle brought the potential vulnerabilities of electronic election infrastructure to the attention of national, state, and local officials, the media, and the general public.” Tennessee is one of 14 states with no statutory requirement of a paper record of all votes.

Full Article: Report: Voting paper trail still needed in Tennessee | FOX13.

Texas: Hughes’ committee election report calls for paper ballot trail, lays ground for bills in 2019 Legislature | Longview News-Journal

A 17-page report issued by a Texas Senate panel led by East Texas state Sen. Bryan Hughes gives a preview of election security bills that lawmakers will take up when they convene in Austin at the new year. Released to the public Wednesday, the report by the Senate Select Committee on Election Security does not include recommendations on combating mail ballot fraud. That topic took up much of the seven-member, bipartisan panel’s only meeting Feb. 22. … The report devotes much of its attention to the cybersecurity of voting systems in Texas and recommends that all electronic voting machines in the state produce a paper ballot voters can inspect before casting their ballots.

Full Article: Hughes' committee election report calls for paper ballot trail, lays ground for bills in 2019 Legislature | Gregg | news-journal.com.

Malta: PN’s trust in electronic counting ‘seriously decreased’ after changes without Commission’s consent | The Malta Independent

The Partit Nazzjonalista’s trust level in the new electronic vote counting system has “seriously decreased” after changes were made to the system by the company responsible for it without informing the Electoral Commission or the political party delegates. Speaking to this newsroom after a report published in The Malta Independent, PN Secretary Clyde Puli said that the PN had voted in favour of this system in parliament as it removes tension by reducing long waiting times; however after news of the non-consensual changes emerged following the system’s second mock test on Saturday, Puli said that their trust level in the system has “seriously decreased” and that they were “very concerned”. The PN demanded reassurances about what safeguards will be in place to ensure that no one can just change the system at will before they can re-affirm their status in favour of this system. The situation, Puli said, “is dangerous for democracy”.

Full Article: PN’s trust in electronic counting ‘seriously decreased’ after changes without Commission’s consent - The Malta Independent.

Malta: New electronic vote counting system modified without Electoral Commission’s consent | The Malta Independent

Sources who were in the counting hall where the new electronic vote counting system was being tested yesterday expressed serious concerns over the way the system had been modified between the first and second mock test. It transpires that the company responsible for operating the system had made amendments to it without informing the Electoral Commission or the political parties’ delegates. Such changes made without their consent could be potentially dangerous, sources claim. During the first mock test of the new system in November, a number of concerns had been flagged, especially on the number of ballot sheets that the system failed to recognise and were subsequently passed on to a human adjudicator. This amounted to approximately 40 per cent of the votes.

Full Article: New electronic vote counting system modified without Electoral Commission’s consent - The Malta Independent.

Congo: As Congo rolls towards election, voting machines arrive | Infosurhoy

A deadly Ebola outbreak grows. Rebels kill civilians in the streets. And yet the arrival of voting machines in this troubled corner of Congo has some especially worried as a long-delayed presidential election promises further upheaval. The machines now arriving by the thousands in this Central African nation are of such concern that the U.N. Security Council has come calling, the United States has issued warnings and opposition supporters on Friday plan a national protest. As Congo faces what could be its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power, fears are high that the more than 100,000 voting machines will be ripe for manipulation. They also could pose a technical nightmare in a sprawling nation of more than 40 million voters where infrastructure is dodgy – just 9 percent of Congo has electricity – and dozens of rebel groups are active. … Now attention turns to the voting machines, made by South Korean company Miru Systems, that security researchers say are vulnerable to rigging and print codes that include ballot-specific information that could strip away voters’ anonymity. The researchers include experts from Argentina, which rejected the company’s machines after learning of the issues.

Full Article: As Congo rolls towards election, voting machines a….

National: Midterm Voting Exposes Growing Problem of Aging Machines | Associated Press

Election experts have long warned about the nation’s aging fleet of voting equipment. This week’s elections underscored just how badly upgrades are needed. Across the country, reports poured in Tuesday amid heavy voter turnout of equipment failing or malfunctioning, triggering frustration among voters and long lines at polling places. Scanners used to record ballots broke down in New York City. Voting machines stalled or stopped working in Detroit. Electronic poll books used to check in voters failed in Georgia. Machines failed to read ballots in Wake County, North Carolina, as officials blamed humidity and lengthy ballots. Those problems followed a busy early voting period that revealed other concerns, including machines that altered voters’ choices in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

Full Article: Midterm Voting Exposes Growing Problem of Aging Machines - The New York Times.

Congo: Thousands rally against voting machines ahead of election | East Africa Monitor

Thousands of opposition supporters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday rallied against the use of voting machines in the country’s upcoming election. In a rare move, President Joseph Kabila’s government authorised the protest although security forces were deployed throughout the capital Kinshasa and various other cities. However, unlike previous protests, which have ended in deadly violence, Friday’s demonstration passed without incident. Tension ahead of the DRC’s long-awaited presidential election is high, following the electoral commission’s decision to bar former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba and regional baron Moise Katumbi from running. Bemba is among the opposition politicians calling upon supporters to rally against what he described as “the greatest electoral fraud ever with electronic machines that have not been tested anywhere in the world.”

Full Article: DRC: Thousands rally against voting machines ahead of election - East Africa Monitor.

Nigeria: ‘How Virtual Polling Units May Mar 2019 Elections’ | allAfrica.com

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was warned yesterday that the credibility of its elections in 2019 may be threatened by electronic manipulation. It was further told that the manipulation was being planned by some persons within its ranks. The alarm was raised by the convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, at a press briefing in Abuja. Reliable sources in INEC revealed that the commission’s e-collation portal has been tampered with, Adeyanju said, warning that this could lead to the creation of virtual polling units. According to him, while e-collation remains the most potent way to end vote rigging, a faulty system means anyone could enter results from any location at anytime or date because the portal allegedly no longer shows location, time and date of collation.

Full Article: Nigeria: 'How Virtual Polling Units May Mar 2019 Elections' - allAfrica.com.

Brazil: Government reiterates e-voting security | ZDNet

Brazilian authorities reiterated that the electronic voting machines used in the country’s elections are completely fraud-proof prior to the run-off, which took place on yesterday (29). In a public service announcement run on national television and radio on Saturday night, the minister at the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) Justice Rosa Weber highlighted the security of the electronic polling machines in use in Brazil and the danger of fake news dissemination. To ensure a smooth election involving nearly 148 million citizens in Brazil, where voting is compulsory, Weber said the electoral justice took “various measures to prevent and correct any possible failures.”

Full Article: Brazilian government reiterates e-voting security | ZDNet.

Voting Blogs: Ten ways to make voting machines cheat with plausible deniability | Andrew Appel/Freedom to Tinker

Voting machines can be hacked; risk-limiting audits of paper ballots can detect incorrect outcomes, whether from hacked voting machines or programming inaccuracies; recounts of paper ballots can correct those outcomes; but some methods for producing paper ballots are more auditable and recountable than others.

A now-standard principle of computer-counted public elections is, use a voter-verified paper ballot, so that in case the voting machine cheats in counting the votes, the human doing an audit or recount can see the paper that the voter marked.  Why would the voting machine cheat?  Well, they’re computers, and any computer may have security vulnerabilities that permits an attacker to modify or replace its software.  We must presume that any voting machine might, at any time, be under the complete control of an attacker, an election thief.

Full Article: Ten ways to make voting machines cheat with plausible deniability.

Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro declared Brazil’s next president | The Guardian

A far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist has been elected as Brazil’s next president after a drama-filled and deeply divisive election that looks set to radically reforge the future of the world’s fourth biggest democracy. Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper who built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat, secured 55.1% of the votes after 99.9% were counted and was therefore elected Brazil’s next president, electoral authorities said on Sunday. Bolsonaro’s leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, secured 44.8% of votes. In a video broadcast from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro thanked God and vowed to stamp out corruption in the country. “We cannot continue flirting with communism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” he said.

Full Article: Jair Bolsonaro declared Brazil's next president | World news | The Guardian.

Congo: As Congo rolls toward election, voting machines a flashpoint | Associated Press

A deadly Ebola outbreak grows. Rebels kill civilians in the streets. And yet the arrival of voting machines in this troubled corner of Congo has some especially worried as a long-delayed presidential election promises further upheaval. The machines now arriving by the thousands in this Central African nation are of such concern that the U.N. Security Council has come calling, the United States has issued warnings and opposition supporters on Friday plan a national protest. As Congo faces what could be its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power, fears are high that the more than 100,000 voting machines will be ripe for manipulation. They also could pose a technical nightmare in a sprawling nation of more than 40 million voters where infrastructure is dodgy — just 9 percent of Congo has electricity — and dozens of rebel groups are active. “We cannot accept people inventing stories that trample our constitution,” said Clovis Mutsuva, a Beni resident with the LUCHA activist organization, which has tweaked the French term “machines a voter” into “machines a voler,” or “machines to steal.”

Full Article: As Congo rolls toward election, voting machines a flashpoint | The State.

Congo: Controversial voting machines start arriving | Reuters

Congo’s deputy prime minister said on Saturday that tablet-like voting machines for December’s election had been made to order and will finish arriving this month, despite suspicions by diplomats and the opposition that they may enable fraud. President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after 17 years in power after a long-delayed vote scheduled for Dec. 23 to choose his successor. The election, which was meant to happen before Kabila’s mandate expired in 2016, had been delayed for so long that many doubted it would happen. If it goes ahead, it will be Democratic Republic of Congo’s first peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. This year, crucial milestones of the calendar — such as candidate registration — have been passed on time.

Full Article: Congo's controversial voting machines start arriving | Reuters.

New Jersey: Is your vote safe? Just 1 New Jersey county can back it up on paper | Asbury Park Press

Nearly all of New Jersey’s 11,000 voting machines are vulnerable to election hacking that could change the outcome of elections across the state, but that is not the worst part of the nightmare scenario feared by security experts. Because the computer-drive voting machines are paperless, no one would know for certain if votes had been changed, the experts say. A USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey review found that election officials in all counties test the machines for a host of technical issues — do the voting machines turn on, do they correctly count test votes, for example — but there is no independent test that deems them hack-proof. The Network asked for simple proof that the machines were digitally secure: Did independent security experts certify the hardware and software as secure, much the same way a bank or business ensures its money transactions are protected from outsiders?

Full Article: NJ election: Is your vote safe? Just 1 county can back it up on paper.