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.)

Illinois: Cook County rolling out new voting machines in west suburbs, expects countywide use by 2020 primaries | Chicago Tribune

New voting machines are coming to three west suburban Cook County townships for next week’s consolidated elections in preparation for a countywide rollout next year. The Cook County clerk’s office will test machines in 147 precincts in Oak Park, River Forest and Proviso townships, and hopes to have the new voting machines in every suburban Cook County precinct by the 2020 presidential primary election. “Our current equipment has served us well for a decade, but these new machines have the latest technology,” county Clerk Karen Yarbrough said at a Tuesday morning news conference. “The touch screens are more intuitive and accessible for voters with disabilities, and every single voter will get to review their ballot with paper in their hands before their vote is cast,” Yarbrough said. Each machine can accommodate three voters at one time, with two touch screens and a paper ballot. A voter will use the touch screen as a ballot marker, then print the ballot to review it, according to a demonstration by the clerk’s election director, Tonya Rice. The voter will then hand the ballot in a privacy sleeve to an election judge, who will initial it and place it in the scanner. The scanner accepts the paper ballot and creates an image of the ballot. Because it’s the same machine, the paper ballot and touch screen ballots are automatically consolidated, according to information provided by the clerk’s office. One touch screen is lower to accommodate voters who use wheelchairs, and voters will be able to change the text size and color contrast if they need. An audio ballot is available in English, Spanish, Hindi and Chinese.

National: New ‘Hybrid’ Voting System Can Change Paper Ballot After It’s Been Cast | WhoWhatWhy

For years, election security experts have assured us that, if properly implemented, paper ballots and routine manual audits can catch electronic vote tally manipulation. Unfortunately, there is no universal definition of “paper ballot,” which has enabled vendors and their surrogates to characterize machine-marked paper printouts from hackable ballot marking devices (BMDs) as “paper ballots.” Unlike hand-marked paper ballots, voters must print and inspect these machine-marked “paper ballots” to try to detect any fraudulent or erroneous votes that might have been marked by the BMD. The machine-marked ballot is then counted on a separate scanner.

Most independent cybersecurity election experts caution against putting these insecure BMDs between voters and their ballots and instead recommend hand-marked paper ballots as a primary voting system (reserving BMDs only for those who are unable to hand mark their ballots). But vendors and many election officials haven’t listened and are now pushing even more controversial “hybrid” systems that combine both a BMD and a scanner into a single unit. These too are now sold for use as a primary voting system.

Unlike hand-marked paper ballots counted on scanners and regular non-hybrid BMDs,  these new hybrid systems can add fake votes to the machine-marked “paper ballot” after it’s been cast, experts warn. Any manual audit based on such fraudulent “paper ballots” would falsely approve an illegitimate electronic outcome. According to experts, the hybrid voting systems with this alarming capability include the ExpressVote hybrid by Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S), the ExpressVote XL hybrid by ES&S, and the Image Cast Evolution hybrid by Dominion Voting.

Verified Voting Blog: Design flaw in Dominion ImageCast Evolution voting machine | Andrew Appel

This article was originally posted at Freedom to Tinker on October 16, 2018. The Dominion ImageCast Evolution looks like a pretty good voting machine, but it has a serious design flaw: after you mark your ballot, after you review your ballot, the voting machine can print more votes on it!. Fortunately, this design flaw has been patented by a…

Nevada: Human error, tech problems cause of double voting in primary election | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said Wednesday that a combination of human error and technical problems allowed up to 43 voters to cast ballots twice in the primary election. During a County Commission meeting to certify election results, Gloria said he is unsure why some voters believed their first attempt to vote was unsuccessful. But he explained that volunteer poll workers during early voting and on Election Day did not confirm whether those voters’ ballots had been properly submitted before they were allowed to re-vote. “Had that been done, we probably would have avoided this whole situation,” he said, adding that it is his department’s responsibility to properly train poll workers.

Nevada: Officials still probing glitches with voting machines | Reno Gazette Journal

Nearly a week after Nevada’s primary election, officials are yet to look under the hood to see what caused glitches with Washoe County’s new voting machines. County Registrar of Voters Deanna Spikula said her office was still working to finalize and audit results from last week’s primary election and had not had a chance to conduct a full assessment of what went wrong with the county’s recently unveiled, multimillion-dollar election hardware. Officials last week said they were aware of fewer than 10 voters affected by well-publicized malfunctions that left some candidates off of ballots or displayed the wrong slate of ballot choices — potentially giving voters a chance to help decide races they weren’t eligible to vote in.

Nevada: Washoe officials looking at reports that candidates were left off ballots | Reno Gazette Journal

Washoe County is looking into multiple reports of candidates being left off primary election ballots, officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon. Officials also heard complaints from voters who said Washoe’s new voting machines had offered them a previous voter’s candidate choices, potentially giving them a chance to cast a ballot in races they aren’t eligible to vote in. County Registrar of Voters Deanna Spikula said fewer than 10 voters had been affected by the glitches.  “At this time none of these issues will affect tabulation and again, all voters have successfully cast their ballots at the polls,” Spikula said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Nevada: ‘Isolated’ vote glitches solved with Nevada voting machines | Associated Press

Officials reported “isolated” primary voting glitches Tuesday involving the state’s new touch-screen voting machines in Nevada’s two most populous areas, and blamed the system for a technical problem that delayed the count of ballots in one rural northern county. Registrars in Las Vegas and Reno said a small number of voting machines failed to properly display all candidates’ names early in the day, and a state official and a member of The Associated Press election tabulation team said the vote tally was delayed for more than two hours after polls closed in Pershing County. In no case were voters unable to successfully cast a ballot with help from poll workers, said Jennifer Russell, spokeswoman for the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.

Michigan: Detroit getting new voting machines, bound statewide | Detroit Free Press

Using state-of-the-art voting machines wouldn’t have changed the controversial results of Michigan’s presidential election last fall, according to Detroit and state election officials. But new digital machines unveiled Saturday — to about 1,200 volunteer supervisors of Detroit’s polling sites — won’t suffer the frequent breakdowns of the old machines, causing lines to back up with impatient voters, and soon will be used statewide, officials said. “At the end of the day, we all have one goal, right? To ensure that every person that wants to vote gets to vote and we count that vote accurately,” Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey told the poll workers. In an event billed as an equipment fair, Winfrey and her staff showed off the new, $4,000 voting tabulators to noisy, curious crowds of election volunteers who gathered — one group in the morning, another in the afternoon — at Wayne County Community College in downtown Detroit.

Kansas: Reno commission to consider $538,000-plus voting machine purchase | Hutchinson News

A proposed half-million-dollar-plus purchase of new voting equipment by the Reno County Clerk’s Office will move the county back to all paper ballots. The Reno County Commission will vote today on awarding the purchase contract, and County Clerk Donna Patton and Election Officer Jenna Fager are recommending equipment from Michigan-based ElectionSource, despite it being the highest of three bids. They anticipate savings in printing costs will more than offset the $13,000 in additional costs, Patton advised the commission last week. Overall, the contract – including discounts for trade-in, a multi-county group discount and signing a contract before the end of the year – is for $538,830. Reoccurring annual fees, after the first year, for software and firmware licenses and annual maintenance, total some $60,265.

Colorado: Pre-election tests didn’t find limits in Pueblo County voting system | The Pueblo Chieftain

State election officials said Pueblo County would have had to test the county’s election system with 50,000-60,000 test ballots to discover the limited data base on the Dominion Express system that filled up on Election Day, causing days of delay in getting final results. Dwight Shellman, county support manager for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, said the limited data base was not mentioned in any of the vendor’s documentation about the Microsoft SQL Express system and that neither state or county officials were aware of it — until the computer server stopped working on Election Day. “We approved that purchase, but if we’d known its limitations, we wouldn’t have,” Shellman said Tuesday. Both Secretary of State Wayne Williams and County Clerk Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz have explained how the vendor — Dominion Voting Systems — rushed a much bigger server to the county last Tuesday to remedy the logjam in counting more than 80,000 votes.

Colorado: Federal funds to help with new voting system costs | Journal Advocate

Logan County Clerk and Recorder Pam Bacon got some welcome news this week while in Fort Collins for the Colorado County Clerks Association three-day winter conference. Wednesday at the conference, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced that he has some funding available to help counties with the purchase of new voting equipment in the next two years. According to a press release from Williams’ office, the state will use $850,000 in federal Help America Vote Act funds to cover 50 percent of a county’s costs to train, test, install and manage the project. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which is a unit within the Justice Department and the grantor, approved Williams’ decision.

Colorado: Election equipment debate: bulk discount vs state backed monopoly | KOAA

County clerks and election staffers from across the state are in Fort Collins this week for the Colorado County Clerks Association Winter Conference. Those officials will learn best practices and get updates on new election laws. They can also get demonstration of voting machines in action from multiple vendors. But a proposed rule change by Secretary of State Wayne Williams will soon prevent counties from buying their equipment anyone other than Dominion Voting. “We believe that by working together as a state, we’re able to negotiate a better deal and we’ve actually achieved that, so far,” Williams said. “We’re in the middle of those contract negotiations but I’m optimistic it’s going to be a very good deal for taxpayers across the state.” In addition to the bulk discount, Williams said instituting a Uniform Voting System will make it easier to train election officials. It will also gives voters a more common experience at the polls. “The goal throughout this process has been to ensure the best possible experience for Colorado voters and to ensure the integrity of the process,” Williams said. There’s just one problem: the state isn’t buying the machines. That expense falls to the counties.

Florida: Hernando County Elections Office to Purchase New Voting Equipment for 2016 | Hernando Sun

Hernando County will update their voting system in time for the 2016 Election Cycle. Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson announced that she will begin contract negotiations with Dominion Voting Systems, one of the two companies who submitted a bid. “We are very excited to continue our working relationship with Dominion Voting Systems. They have provided a reliable tabulation system and excellent customer service to Hernando County since 1998,”stated Supervisor Anderson. As in previous elections, voters will fill in the ovals on a paper ballot. One of the many new features is that we will only have one universal vote tabulator. The new system will allow disabled voters to cast a paper ballot using the same equipment as all other voters.

Missouri: Callaway County Clerk requests new voting machines | Fulton Sun

The Callaway County Commission and County Clerk Denise Hubbard met with sales associates from Springfield-based Elkins-Swyers Company to learn about options for new voting machines. Hubbard said the current voting machines are at least 10 years old, and the most common glitch is with the piece that rolls ballots into the machine’s hub for storage. She added that piece of equipment can sometimes be fixed internally, but when the issue is more complex, the machine has to be shipped to Springfield for repairs. Clerk employees use Windows 98 on election nights. Cory Nibert, a sales associate with Elkins-Swyers, said the current machines have not yet been phased out, but parts are becoming more expensive. He and his co-worker, Steve Byers, brought a new voting machine inside the Commission’s office Thursday for demonstration. Hubbard told the commission she wanted to give them an idea of what’s available. “(The system) is very similar to what we use now. It’s just a little more computerized, maybe,” Hubbard said. “It’s a little easier, a little smoother. It’s going to cut down on man hours.”

New Mexico: Powell asks court to block recount | The Santa Fe New Mexican

Incumbent state Land Commissioner Ray Powell asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to temporarily halt an automatic recount of votes in the contested land commissioner race, alleging the state Canvassing Board has violated state law and the election code. The last unofficial election results showed Powell, a Democrat, losing by a 704-vote margin to Republican challenger Aubrey Dunn out of 499,666 votes cast, or about 0.14 percent of the votes. State law calls for an automatic recount when the margin between two statewide candidates is less than half of 1 percent of ballots cast. Dunn maintained a slim lead through post-election canvassing by county clerks and the state Canvassing Board. But Powell alleges there have been several irregularities, including the vote recount order approved by the state Canvassing Board on Nov. 25.

New Mexico: Glitches plague voting machines, clerk resorts to hand tallies | The Taos News

Taos County Clerk Anna Martinez spent nearly 12 hours Tuesday (Nov. 4) driving around from voter precinct to voter precinct troubleshooting issues with the new ballot machines supplied by the state. Due to problems with machines in nearly half of the county’s 36 precincts, staff at the clerk’s office had to hand-tally the ballots from 16 precincts — delaying the election result reports until 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. ”It’s hard to get into a new machine that you don’t know anything about,” Martinez told The Taos News Wednesday. The Taos News received a handful of comments and calls complaining of problems with the machines. Despite the problems, Martínez insisted the vote totals were accurate.

New Mexico: Two ballot machines malfunction at Doña Ana County Government Center | Las Cruces Sun-News

Two ballot-tabulating machines malfunctioned Tuesday during early voting at the Doña Ana County Government Center, ruffling feathers among voters and election officials. However, county election officials assured the problem — which is still under review — won’t harm the integrity of the election. That’s because paper ballots counted by the affected machines can be fed into different, functional machines, they said. Doña Ana County elections supervisor Scott Krahling said election workers at the site noticed Tuesday morning that ballots weren’t being accepted by the machines as readily as in past days of early voting. Voters often would insert a valid ballot, only for the machines to reject it.

Florida: Voting in Leon County hits the new millennium | Tallahassee Democrat

As primary-elections wraps-up and general elections approaches in November, voter technicians are excited about the new technology they have. A new machine called I.C.E. will ultimately change the way voters vote in the future. The past decade technology has taken the world by storm. Here in Tallahassee the supervisor of elections Ion Sancho’s office and staff have worked hard in getting this new technology out to the capital cities voting poles and precincts. William Stewart a voting system tech here at the Leon County branch is hands on with this new technology. Testing and deploying voting equipment, the ImageCast Evolution also known to them as I.C.E. was the main attraction. “Combining two devices in one makes casting audio and visual ballots easier and faster for voters” said Stewart.

New Mexico: New voting machines set for Nov. 4 election | Albuquerque Journal News

New Mexico voters in the Nov. 4 general election will cast ballots using new voting machines, which have cost the state nearly $12 million over the past two years to purchase and set up. Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s chief of staff Ken Ortiz said county clerks in all 33 counties have received thorough training on the machines in recent months. “Our office is confident that there is an adequate plan in place for election night,” Ortiz told the Journal in an email. A Legislative Finance Committee report released earlier this month raised questions about relying on the machines’ Colorado-based vendor for oversight and troubleshooting.

New Mexico: County invites public to test new voting machines | The Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe County voters will cast their ballots on new voting machines during the November general election.
But voters and any other member of the public can get a sneak peek and even test vote on the new machines starting this week. … The new voting machines replace equipment that Barraza said was becoming obsolete. “They’re not making parts for them anymore,” he said, referring to the older equipment. “We had them since 2006, but they had been around longer than that.”

New Mexico: Sandoval County secures more voting machines for shorter waits | Albuquerque Journal News

Sandoval County appears unlikely to see a repeat of the long lines of November 2012, with a large number of voting convenience centers and voting machines lined up for this year’s primary and general elections. In October, the Albuquerque Journal reported, the county commission approved 17 voting centers in Rio Rancho and two in Corrales for the two elections the county’s Bureau of Elections will conduct in 2014. Rio Rancho had just five voting convenience centers in the 2012 general election. Various reports from that night indicated some Rio Rancho residents waited between three and five hours to vote. For the June 3 primary, the bureau expects to have 66 computer stations set up at voting centers to print ballots on-demand as voters check in. The bureau also plans to have two voting machine for counting completed ballots in each voting center, spokesman Sidney Hill said. The voting centers that consolidate the most precincts will receive the most systems for printing ballots on demand, he said.

Florida: Leon County Commission OKs money to buy new voting machines | Tallahassee Democrat

At Tuesday’s County Commission meeting, a proposal to fund $1.98 million for new voting machines pitted Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho and two commissioners on opposite ends. A brief heated exchange erupted between Sancho and Commissioner Bryan Desloge, who expressed strong hesitance to approve a no-bid vendor contract for 250 new hybrid voting machines that can be independently used by all voters, including those with varying disabilities. Erring on the side of transparency, Desloge and Commissioner John Dailey favored the county issue a request for proposals. Sancho explained only one company in the nation manufactures a modern voting machine to meet the needs of all voters, instead of using separate devices. Sancho said a request for proposals would result in the same company being picked and delay having devices in hand by November’s election.

Maryland: State prepares move back to paper ballots for elections | Maryland Reporter

Local election officials are already expressing uncertainty about what could go wrong when the state switches from an electronic voting system to using paper ballots in the next two years. By the 2016 presidential elections the state will replace touch-screen machines and make a fundamental shift to the way voters cast ballots. “This is a big transition for us,” said Montgomery County Board of Elections Deputy Director Alysoun McLaughlin. “Everything from set up, to warehouses, to the voting experience is based around touch screen [voting] machines.” McLaughlin attended a demonstration last week in Baltimore where Dominion Voting Systems showcased a paper ballot scanning unit to local elections officials that the state will consider purchasing for use in 2016. … State election officials would not provide an estimate of the cost to transition the state to the new paper voting system. Instead, the state board referred to a 2010 study conducted for the state by RTI International which estimated that initial implementation would cost approximately $37 million. The initial implementation costs would include optical scan voting units, ballot marking devices for the disabled, ballot on demand printers and booths and carts.

Tennessee: County vets voting machines | Polk County News

Polk County’s Election Commission is continuing to look at new voting machines. At a meeting last Thursday, they heard a presentation from Dominion Voting Sytems. Mike Beckstram of Dominion showed the commission a paper-based digital optical scan system. He said the system was currently being used in Hamilton County, but the company served voting needs all over the country and was the oldest company in the US and had more than 100,000 units in the field. According to Beckstram, once a voter has marked their ballot, it is scanned into a reader. The reader stores the scanned images, which can be compared to the hard copy if questions are ever raised. If chosen, this system will also alert voters if they have missed any categories or if their vote was not read, enabling them to have a second chance if a mistake was made. Beckstram said the machine would not accept an ambiguous vote, and the commission could set the machines so that a certain percentage of the circle would have to be filled out in order for the machine to read it. If the machine cannot read the mark it will alert the voter.

Mongolia: Dominion ImageCast to be used in Mongolian Election | Ubpost News

The 2013 Presidential Election Campaign has officially started on May 22, in which three candidates received their mandates to run for president. They were officially registered by the General Election Commission to run in the 6th Presidential Election in Mongolia. They are Ts.Elbegdorj, the current President of Mongolia, from the Democratic Party; former wrestler, champion B.Bat-Erdene, from the Mongolian People’s Party; and the Minister of Health, N.Udval, from the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party. … The parliamentary meeting held on December 21, 2012 came up with a decision to allow using the automated technique and device, “New ImageCast,” in the operations of voter registration, poll taking, and ballot paper counting. Accordingly, the ballot papers of the Presidential Election will be counted by an automatic device for the first time through Dominion Voting, the company that started providing the world market with election products in 2002. Mongolia introduced its ImageCast electronic voting machine in the Parliamentary Election, conducted last year. According to the local media, the ballot papers of the 2013 Presidential Election will be counted electronically by a machine.

Tennessee: Hamilton County In The Market For New Voting Machines | The Chattanoogan

Hamilton County election officials said the current voting machines are worn out and a new system needs to be in place by the next major election in May 2014. Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, election administrator, said, “We prayed our way through the November and March elections.” She said the new machines may cost in the range of $1 million. She said there are federal funds available to cover the cost. When the election office purchased the current machines in 1998, they were in advance of a number of other election offices on the new-type machines. The cost was covered by county taxpayers. When federal funds later became available to buy voting machines, the county applied for retroactive funds but did not get them.

New York: Problems with voting machine ruled Cattaraugus-Little Valley proposition invalid | The Salamanca Press

A problem with a voting machine, most likely human error, has caused a proposition at the Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District to be ruled invalid. The vote on Proposition No. 2, which asked voters to cast a ballot for the purchase of additional school buses, had been declared “passed” unofficially by the school district on May 15, the night of the votes. However, official results were not released for two days because school officials spotted an error. As previously reported, school officials ruled the proposition invalid when the official results were announced. “The night of the vote, when we tabulated everything, there were actually more votes cast for that proposition than there were voters who went in the door, signed the book and went into the machines,” said district superintendent Jon Peterson. “So we knew there was some error in the numbers.”