In 2016, I bought two voting machines online for less than $100 apiece. I didn’t even have to search the dark web. I found them on eBay. Surely, I thought, these machines would have strict guidelines for lifecycle control like other sensitive equipment, like medical devices. I was wrong. I was able to purchase a pair of direct-recording electronic voting machines and have them delivered to my home in just a few days. I did this again just a few months ago. Alarmingly, they are still available to buy online. If getting voting machines delivered to my door was shockingly easy, getting inside them proved to be simpler still. The tamper-proof screws didn’t work, all the computing equipment was still intact, and the hard drives had not been wiped. The information I found on the drives, including candidates, precincts, and the number of votes cast on the machine, were not encrypted. Worse, the “Property Of” government labels were still attached, meaning someone had sold government property filled with voter information and location data online, at a low cost, with no consequences. It would be the equivalent of buying a surplus police car with the logos still on it.Full Article: I Bought Used Voting Machines on eBay for $100 Apiece. What I Found Was Alarming | WIRED.
North Dakota: Aging voting machines could pose a challenge for counties | Prairie Public Broadcasting
In 2017, the North Dakota Legislature was asked to fund new voting machines. The Legislature declined. And that means North Dakota is using the same voting system it purchased back in 2004. “That’s a long life span for technology,” said Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum. Silrum said the current machines use the Windows 7 operating system. Windows no longer supports that system, and Silrum said the counties have had to cannibalize their existing machines to have some that still work. “You can’t any longer find chips or motherboards that run slow enough, because modern technology has advanced,” Silrum said. “They just say, ‘Why would we want to build something so slow?'”
National: ‘Let Me Vote!’ Voters Experiencing Problems During Primaries: Long Lines, Faulty Machines, Ballot Shortages Among Problems | Latin Post
Earlier this week, millions of Americans in 12 states across the country participated in the Super Tuesday election, which helped Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton move one step closer to winning their parties’ nominations. However, many voters were subjected to long lines, confusing information and defective voting machines before they were able to cast their votes. Others were prohibited from voting altogether due to technicalities and strict ID laws. Although Americans are encouraged to take advantage of their right to vote, doing so can be very difficult. Officials at Election Protection — a nonpartisan coalition of groups that run an Election Day hotline to help voters who encounter problems — were flooded with over 1,500 calls from voters experiencing problems at different polling sites. The majority of the calls came from Texas and Georgia, but a large number also came in from Alabama, Virginia and Colorado as well. “We received calls from voters needing assistance on a range of issues resulting from poll worker misinformation, voter ID problems, overcrowded polls, long lines and ballot shortages,” said Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, who co-leads Election Protection and acts as manager of Legal Mobilization and Strategic Campaigns at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to Latin Post in an email.Full Article: 'Let Me Vote!' Voters Experiencing Problems at Different Polling Stations During 2016 Presidential Primary Elections: Long Lines, Faulty Machines, Ballot Shortages Among Problems : Politics : Latin Post.
Michigan voters will spend next Tuesday wondering who will win the state’s presidential primaries. Elections officials will spend that same day wondering if the state’s voting machines will make it through one more election. Michigan’s voting machines are outdated and beginning to break down, with counties buying used parts on the Internet and nursing a computer operating system that stopped being sold in 2008. “Every election is like waiting for a catastrophe to happen,” said Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum. “That’s no way to run an election.” Voting machine problems at the polls could lengthen the already long time it takes many Michigan voters to cast ballots – Michigan already ranks 46th in that category.Full Article: Bridge • The Center for MichiganMichigan’s aging voting machines a 'catastrophe waiting to happen’.
There is a certain buzz in the air on election nights that gives voters a sense of involvement in a larger process and state elections officials knots in their stomachs. Will state reporting systems keep up with the deluge of access attempts so common in our technology-driven society? As media outlets and the public at large pound on the digital front door for the latest poll numbers, results portals across the country face the strain of hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of hits. Some falter and are overwhelmed by the attention and come crashing down; others come to the game prepared, having learned from past follies. Though 2014 wasn’t exactly what you’d call a big-ticket election — with no presidential candidates on the ballot — states across the country experienced issues with their election reporting websites. Whether the problems were due to overwhelmingly high Web traffic or just technical difficulties, several states had to step back and rethink their online reporting strategies. With 2016 expected to be a veritable title fight between the headline grabbers like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Government Technology caught up with several states who have seen issues in the past and moved to confront them head on. In Virginia, problems with the state’s election reporting website started in 2008, when online traffic to the site caused an outage.Full Article: Is Your Election Night Reporting System Ready for 2016?.
There is now a trial date set to get voting results tested in Sedgwick County. Local Certified Quality Engineer Beth Clarkson is suing Sedgwick County Elections Commissioner, Tabitha Lehman. Clarkson wants to find out if there could be election fraud in Sedgwick County. Or, possible problems with the electronic voting machines. “I’m really concerned that our voting system has been undermined by these voting machines,” says Clarkson. “And I think we’ve got to do something about it if that’s the case.” Clarkson wants an anonymous sample of the paper tapes that tabulate elections results. She says there are statistical anomalies with the electronic voting machines. Secretary of State Kris Kobach was part of the lawsuit. But at a hearing before a judge on Monday, Kobach was dropped from the lawsuit.Full Article: Lawsuit over possible voting machine “anomalies” in Sedgwick County moves forward | KSN-TV.
Recently a report was released discussing the current state of voting technology across the United States as we head in to the 2016 Election Cycle, which covers elections for many offices, from President to statewide offices to school boards. Pam Fessler of NPR (a reporter who has spent years reporting on election administration issues and talking to state and local election officials) summed up the report, “Voting machines around the United States are coming to the end of their useful lives. Breakdowns are increasingly common. Spare parts are difficult, if not impossible, to find.”Full Article: Blog Details Commissioner Masterson on Aging Voting Technology.
National: Hanging chad redux? Old voting devices could create new crisis, report finds | The Guardian
The United States is heading for another catastrophe in its voting system equivalent to the notorious “hanging chad” affair that shook the country in 2000 and propelled George W Bush into the White House, experts on electoral procedures are warning. The voting technology deployed by most states around the country is now so antiquated and unreliable that it is in danger of breaking down at any time, the experts say. Some states are having to go on eBay to buy spare parts for machines that are no longer manufactured. The extent of decay in America’s electoral infrastructure is laid bare in a new report from the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan institute at the New York University School of Law specializing in democracy and justice. Having consulted more than 100 voting specialists in all 50 states, the center concludes that the country is facing an impending crisis in the way it conducts elections. As Louisiana’s secretary of state Tom Schedler put it to an official hearing recently: “It’s getting a little scary out there.”Full Article: Hanging chad redux? Old voting devices could create new crisis, report finds | US news | The Guardian.
It won’t be available during this election, but Secretary of State Tom Schedler wants to bring iPad voting to Louisiana in the next two or three years. If reelected this fall, Schedler said he would look to transition Louisiana from its traditional voting machines to iPads. The shift would cost a fair amount of money – a rough estimate puts it somewhere between $45 million and $60 million. So Schedler might first look to lease the equipment to bring the cost down initially. iPad voting would also run as a pilot program in select locations before consideration was given to launching it statewide, according to Schedler’s office.Full Article: iPad voting might be coming to Louisiana | NOLA.com.
Virginia: Roanoke County, Botetourt County, Montgomery County to replace banned voting machines by June | Richmond Times-Dispatch
The decision by the State Board of Elections to scrap thousands of touchscreen voting machines used in 20 percent of the state’s precincts sent shock waves through Virginia’s community of voter registrars, forcing them to scramble and replace the faulty equipment less than two months ahead of the June 9 primaries. The board on Tuesday imposed a ban on all touchscreen direct recording electronic voting machines of the WinVote model, because the continuing use of the aging devices “creates an unacceptable risk to the integrity of the election process in the commonwealth,” said Edgardo Cortés, commissioner of the state Department of Elections. A review by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency after the Nov. 4 elections had confirmed what computer experts had feared for years — that the WinVote machines may be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Virginia is the only state where WinVote devices are still in use.Full Article: Roanoke County, Botetourt County, Montgomery County to replace banned voting machines by June - Roanoke Times: News.
On April 14, the Virginia State Board of Elections voted to immediately decertify use of the AVS WinVote touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic voting machine. That means that the machine, which the Washington Post says was used by “dozens of local governments” in Virginia, can’t be used any more, though the commonwealth is holding primaries in just two months. The move comes in light of a report that shows just how shoddy and insecure voting machines can be. As one of my colleagues taught me, BLUF—bottom line up front: If an election was held using the AVS WinVote, and it wasn’t hacked, it was only because no one tried. The vulnerabilities were so severe, and so trivial to exploit, that anyone with even a modicum of training could have succeeded. A hacker wouldn’t have needed to be in the polling place—he could have been within a few hundred feet (say, in the parking lot) and or within a half-mile if he used a rudimentary antenna built using a Pringles can. Further, there are no logs or other records that would indicate if such a thing ever happened, so if an election was hacked any time in the past, we will never know.Full Article: AVS WinVote: Virginia voting machine’s password was admin..
Addressing the House and Governmental Affairs committee Wednesday, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler sent out an S-O-S on the condition of the state’s stock of voting machines. “I just will tell you that it’s getting a little scary out there,” Schedler said, reminding lawmakers, “Voting machine equipment is all 15-20 years, plus.” Sulphur Rep. Mike Danahay, part of a contingent that’s been investigating new voting technology with Schedler, noted, “They’re having to scavenge parts off old machines to keep the current machines running.”Full Article: Sending Out an S-O-S for Voting Machines | WRKF.
Virginia election officials were gathering information Wednesday about a glitch that affected 32 voting machines in the southeastern part of the state, a Department of Elections spokeswoman said. Rose Mansfield said that once all the information is received, the head of the department will conduct a complete review and will likely present a report on Tuesday’s troubles to the State Board of Elections. “Our voting technology specialists are working on it,” Mansfield said, adding that the priority is to get the right answers about what went wrong on Election Day. The faulty machines are a fraction of the 820 touchscreen devices that were used in the affected precincts, most of them in Virginia Beach. They were taken out of service after voters complained that they tried to vote for one candidate, but the machine attempted to record the vote for another. Mansfield said all the machines were calibrated and tested before the election.Full Article: Va. election officials look into machine glitches - The Washington Post.
Scientists at a US university say they have developed a technique to hack into Indian electronic voting machines. After connecting a home-made device to a machine, University of Michigan researchers were able to change results by sending text messages from a mobile. Indian election officials say their machines are foolproof, and that it would be very difficult even to get hold of a machine to tamper with it. India uses about 1.4m electronic voting machines in each general election. A video posted on the internet by the researchers at the University of Michigan purportedly shows them connecting a home-made electronic device to one of the voting machines used in India. Professor J Alex Halderman, who led the project, said the device allowed them to change the results on the machine by sending it messages from a mobile phone.Full Article: US scientists 'hack' India electronic voting machines » Bhatkallys.com.
Thanks to a device that is the size and shape of a mini piano keyboard, India can boast that the country’s voters, all 814.5 million of them in 543 constituencies, can cast their ballot electronically, even in areas that have just one person. The 1.8 million electronic voting machines being used in this year’s elections, manufactured by Bharat Electronics and Electronic Corporation of India, both government companies, have been designed to adapt to the logistical challenges in India, where roads can be nonexistent and the electricity supply erratic. The machines are small enough to carry by hand and require only a six-volt alkaline battery. With one-third of India’s adult population illiterate, the voting machines feature both a list of candidates’ names and their party symbol. “The introduction of electronic voting machine was India’s biggest electoral reform,” said Manohar Singh Gill, India’s former chief election commissioner who supervised the 1999 election, the last one that used paper ballots. “The biggest disputes in paper ballots used to be on which vote is invalid and which is not. Recounting used to take days, and more disputes would emerge.”Full Article: The Device that Runs the World's Biggest Election - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com.
The chairman of the Sevier County Democratic Party, who serves on the Sevier County Election Commission, said he believes no candidates from his party are running in upcoming county elections in part because they don’t trust the machines being used in the election. Michael Fitzgibbons said he has no issue with any of the personnel working for the election commission, and isn’t accusing any of them of tampering with the machines. He isn’t saying he has evidence of a specific instance of tampering. But he said his research has indicated it’s possible to tamper remotely or on site with the Election Systems & Software Ivotronic voting machines used in Sevier County, and he doesn’t believe the possibility can be ruled out until different machines are used.Full Article: Sevier County election commissioner: 'I don't trust the machines' | The Mountain Press.
Responding to frustratingly long lines in the last national election, a presidential commission on Wednesday encouraged expansion of early voting and said no American should have to wait more than half an hour to cast a ballot. The Presidential Commission on Election Administration was presenting President Barack Obama with a list of recommendations to reduce the wait and make voting more efficient. The commission warned of an “impending crisis in voting technology” as machines across the country purchased after the 2000 election recount wear out with no federal funds on the horizon to replace them. “We could have even more problems in the future if we don’t act now,” Obama said after receiving their 112-page report in the White House’s Roosevelt Room. But fixing the problems will be easier said than done, since no federal commission can force changes to balloting run by about 8,000 different jurisdictions. Funds for upgrades are scarce. Not only that, there have been sharp differences in recent years between the parties on what approach to employ. Fights over voting process can — and sometimes have — been as partisan and bitter as those associated with the redrawing of political boundary lines.Full Article: Obama commission encourages early vote expansion - Yahoo News.
The court-ordered recount of Nov. 5 election results in Comal County, set for Thursday, might not resolve concerns about balloting irregularities in the four affected entities. Accurate results could be impossible if the electronic voting machines were encoded with the wrong ballots, as suspected in one Schertz contest, said County Clerk Joy Streater, the recount supervisor. “It seems that people were given ballots who were not eligible to vote in that particular race,” said Streater, who was appointed Tuesday by state District Judge Gary Steel to oversee the recount prompted by a county petition. She’s unsure if technicians from Electronic Systems & Software, the vendor of the “direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines,” can weed out the improper ballots. Despite discussions about hand-tabulating individual “vote image logs” of each ballot recorded by the machines, Streater instead plans to print out vote tallies from each of the 179 machines. “If we hand count 16,000 ballots, we’ll be here ’til Christmas and we’ll just get the same results that are now in the machines,” she said, noting the recount may not conclude until Friday.Full Article: Comal County recount might not resolve ballot mess - San Antonio Express-News.
Comal County wants to recount Tuesday’s ballots by hand to resolve problems with both the initial election results from electronic voting machines and the revised tallies those machines produced Wednesday. The revised numbers didn’t change the outcome of any race. Confidence in them, though, plummeted this week because they indicate 649 ballots were cast in the contest for Place 3 on the Schertz City Council, despite only 540 voters being registered in the part of the town that’s in Comal County, officials said. County Judge Sherman Krause conferred with the machine vendor, Election Systems & Software, and the secretary of state’s office. The balloting included three at-large council races in Schertz, a Comal Independent School District bond election and a contested seat on the Cibolo Municipal Authority board. An audit of all 179 voting machines Wednesday showed 16,101 votes were cast countywide, not the 13,686 reported Tuesday night. The Schertz numbers didn’t shrink, they grew.Full Article: Comal will seek a recount over election oddities - San Antonio Express-News.