New York: Hacking concerns delayed vote machines: Westchester bought them anyway | Mark Lungariello/Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Westchester County lawmakers put off buying new voting machines in March over concerns they could be hacked and made to add marks on finished ballots. The county Board of Elections bought some anyway. “The local county legislature has no authority to approve the machines, so we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary,” Reggie Lafayette, Democratic elections commissioner, told The Journal News/lohud. But some lawmakers didn’t see it that way and even sought a written legal opinion from county staff attorneys on the move. The county Law Department concluded in August that the elections board acted within its authority under New York state law as a semi-autonomous entity. Legislator Nancy Barr, a Rye Brook Democrat, said the process still left a lot to be desired. “Even if it’s allowed, it’s certainly not something that generates trust between the Board of Legislators and the Board of Elections, and other departments,” she said at last Monday’s meeting of the legislature’s Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Editorials: ImageCast Evolution voting machine: Mitigations, misleadings, and misunderstandings | Andrew Appel/Freedom to Tinker

Two months ago I wrote that the New York State Board of Elections was going to request a reexamination of the Dominion ImageCast Evolution voting machine, in light of a design flaw that I had previously described. The Dominion ICE is an optical-scan voting machine. Most voters are expected to feed in a hand-marked optical scan ballot; but the ICE also has an integrated ballot-marking device for use by those voters who wish to mark their ballot by machine. The problem is, if the ICE’s software were hacked, the hacked software could make the machine print additional (fraudulent votes) onto hand-marked paper ballots. This would defeat the purpose of voter-verifiable paper ballots, which are meant to serve as a safeguard against buggy or fraudulent software. The Board of Elections commissioned an additional report from SLI Compliance, which had done the first certification of this machine back in April 2018. SLI’s new report dated March 14, 2019 is quite naive: they ran tests on the machine and “at no point was the machine observed making unauthorized additions to the ballots.” Well indeed, if you test a machine that hasn’t (yet) been hacked, it won’t misbehave. (SLI’s report is pages 7-9 of the combined document.)