The top Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee wants more answers from voting machine vendors after two of the three largest companies skipped Wednesday’s election security hearing. Hart InterCivic sent a representative, but Election Systems & Software and Dominion did not. “I think we should try again, and I personally plan on sending them a number of written questions, since they wouldn’t come to the hearing,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Eric. “They have a responsibility, when there’s only three of them, to answer our questions.” Klobuchar is the lead Democratic sponsor of the bipartisan Secure Elections Act (S. 2593), Congress’ most significant attempt yet to protect U.S. election infrastructure from hackers. Klobuchar may get her wish to bring in Dominion and ES&S — a spokeswoman for Rules Chairman Roy Blunt told MC that the panel was planning additional hearings.
National: Nation’s top voting equipment vendors grilled by Senate on election security | Washington Times
The Senate’s leading election security advocates blasted the country’s top voting equipment vendors on Wednesday for potentially failing to shore up ballot boxes despite November’s midterm elections already being underway with primaries. Mark Warner, also the top Democrat in the Senate’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, scolded Texas-based Hart InterCivic for failing to cooperate with a security review in his home state of Virginia after that contest. “I am very concerned that there is a lot of chest thumping about how well we did in 2016,” Mr. Warner said during a Senate Rules and Administration Committee’s hearing on election safety — the second on the subject in less than a month. Peter Lichtenheld, vice president of operations for Hart InterCivic, had earlier told lawmakers of the firm’s “strong working relationships” with federal, state and local election officials.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said new election equipment and millions of dollars worth of federal election security grants will help to further protect the state’s elections systems this fall. With the statewide primary election being held in August, residents should be aware that for the first time in 12 years, every voter will be using new election equipment designed with added security measures including optical-scan ballot tabulators, accessible features for voters with disabilities as well as upgraded election-management and reporting software. In Oakland County, voters will be using election equipment supplied by Hart Intercivic, a Texas-based company that signed a 10-year contract with the county and 10 other counties around the state in 2017.
As Republican and Democratic state legislators hustle to pass a law moving Georgia toward paper ballot voting technology, election integrity advocates said they’re concerned a bill that already cleared the state Senate could lead to a new vulnerability in Georgia’s next voting system, if it becomes law. One way a new system might work is through a touchscreen computer similar to those currently used in Georgia. It would print a paper ballot with a visual representation of a voter’s choices so they themselves can check for accuracy. In some systems, counting the votes means scanning an entire image of the ballot that may include a timestamp and precinct information. In other systems, barcodes or QR codes on a ballot would correspond with the voter’s choices, which can make counting easier and faster for election officials, said Peter Lichtenheld, vice president of operations with Hart Intercivic, one of several election technology companies that hired lobbyists at the statehouse this year.
Paper ballots could be in the future for Greene County residents, should the county not have the money to afford new, electronic equipment. It was a matter members of the Greene County Election Commission had to consider when listening to a sales pitch made by HARP Enterprises/HART Intercivic election equipment during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday. HART manufactures election equipment while HARP is the service provider once a sale is completed. The election commission is exploring the possibility of replacing the county’s voting machines. New voting equipment was last purchased in 2006. Commissioners heard from the company MicroVote last month.
Some of the nation’s top election technology companies explained to state lawmakers Thursday how they might replace Georgia’s 15-year-old electronic voting machines, which have been phased out in many states around the country. … Georgia is one of five states where voting machines currently have no paper trail, and cybersecurity experts agree that exposes the system to potential doubt, hacks and glitches. “The bottom line is you want to have that fail-safe, so that the system can be checked with an audit and, if necessary, be recounted with a physical record, and that’s provided with a paper ballot,” said Susan Greenhalgh with Verified Voting, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections. She presented to the committee Thursday.
In October 2017, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent letters to five of the top voting machine companies in America asking how their organizations were structured and what steps they have taken to ensure their machines are protected from cyber threats. “As our election systems have come under unprecedented scrutiny, public faith in the security of our electoral process at every level is more important than ever before,” Wyden said. “Ensuring that Americans can trust that election systems and infrastructure are secure is necessary to protecting confidence in our electoral process and democratic government.” The questions touched on a wide range of topics related to cybersecurity, such as whether the companies had experienced a recent data breach, whether they employ a chief information security officer and how frequently their products have been audited by third-party evaluators.
A U.S. senator wants to know how well the country’s top six voting machine manufactures protect themselves against cyberattacks, a move that comes just weeks after federal authorities notified 21 states that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 presidential election. In a letter Tuesday to the CEOs of top election technology firms, Sen. Ron Wyden writes that public faith in American election infrastructure is “more important than ever before.” “Ensuring that Americans can trust that election systems and infrastructure are secure is necessary to protecting confidence in our electoral process and democratic government,” writes Widen, an Oregon Democrat.
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.
Election administrators in Virginia ordered the state’s remaining touch-screen electronic voting machines be taken out of service in advance of the coming statewide election, after hackers demonstrated vulnerabilities in an array of election technology at a recent security convention. Virginia, one of two states holding statewide elections for governor and state legislature this year, won’t use any touch-screen machines in the Nov. 7 general election after the State Board of Elections voted Friday to revoke the certifications on all such systems still being used in the state. Virginia will switch to paper ballots counted and processed by computerized scanners. James Alcorn, chair of the board, said in a statement the move was “necessary to ensure the integrity of Virginia’s elections.” … The decision by Virginia to stop using touch-screen electronic voting machines marks a victory for advocates who have long criticized paperless electronic voting systems as insecure and potentially vulnerable to tampering and mischief.