The 2,232-page budget bill President Trump signed Friday included a provision that election security and technology experts have been pushing for years: money to update the nation’s outdated voting infrastructure. It came on the heels of similar calls from the current and former chiefs of homeland security and a bipartisan group of lawmakers. According to a recent analysis, the $380 million from lawmakers is not enough to fully replace the most vulnerable parts of our electoral machinery (we probably need at least another $380 million directed to jurisdictions with the most vulnerable equipment to do that), but it will allow states to make real progress toward long-overdue upgrades and cybersecurity improvements.
Still, Congress can’t afford to take its foot off the gas. At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last week, senators and witnesses reiterated the real threat that nations like Russia and China may use future elections as opportunities to exploit weaknesses exposed during the 2016 campaign. While states and counties are doing what they can to identify and patch these vulnerabilities, this is a race without a finish line, and we should expect that our adversaries will change and advance their methods of attack. More resources and guidance will be needed.
This year, the Brennan Center, where we both work, identified residents in 41 states where at least some will vote on machines that are a decade old or more. Voting machines that are no longer even manufactured remain in use in 43 states and D.C. Like a laptop computer or an old iPhone, aging machines are more vulnerable to malfunction and to hacking. In a 2015 Brennan Center report, we identified some of the malfunctions that can become more common with age, including “vote flipping” on touch-screen machines and memory-card crashes that require election officials to take systems out of service.
Full Article: The government is finally investing in election security..