A coalition of civil rights and voting advocacy groups lashed out Friday at Alameda County election officials after poll workers wrongly told more than 150 voters that their paper ballot was only a receipt and that it could be taken home, leading to the votes not being counted. The mistake, the groups allege, affected voters who visited one or more locations in Oakland to cast ballots in person between Oct. 31 and election day. “We spoke to some of the poll workers there who were really alarmed,” said Angelica Salceda, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. The voting rights advocates said that some voters who showed up at a polling place on the campus of Mills College during the four-day period were told the ballot marking device they had used was keeping a digital record of their selections on federal, state and local races. In reality, the device only makes marks on a paper ballot, which the voter then must submit to an election official. Instead, poll workers “incorrectly told voters … that the printouts from the machines were ‘receipts’ that the voters should take with them, rather than official ballots that they should deposit in the ballot box,” representatives of 15 civil rights and voting rights groups wrote in a letter Thursday to Tim Dupuis, the Alameda County registrar of voters. “In general, voters who cast their ballots at Mills College were disproportionately Black, and many of the voters who had been actively encouraged by poll workers to use the [ballot marking devices] were disabled or elderly.”
Georgia: In high-stakes election, State’s voting system vulnerable to cyberattack | Alan Judd/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Headed into one of the most consequential elections in the state’s history, Georgia’s new electronic voting system is vulnerable to cyberattacks that could undermine public confidence, create chaos at the polls or even manipulate the results on Election Day. Computer scientists, voting-rights activists, U.S. intelligence agencies and a federal judge have repeatedly warned of security deficiencies in Georgia’s system and in electronic voting in general. But state officials have dismissed their concerns as merely “opining on potential risks.”Instead, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office weakened the system’s defenses, disabling password protections on a key component that controls who is allowed to vote. In addition, days before early voting began on Oct. 12, Raffensperger’s office pushed out new software to each of the state’s 30,000 voting machines through hundreds of thumb drives that experts say are prone to infection with malware. And what state officials describe as a feature of the new system actually masks a vulnerability. Officials tell voters to verify their selections on a paper ballot before feeding it into an optical scanner. But the scanner doesn’t record the text that voters see; rather, it reads an unencrypted quick response, or QR, barcode that is indecipherable to the human eye. Either by tampering with individual voting machines or by infiltrating the state’s central elections server, hackers could systematically alter the barcodes to change votes.