The Voting News Weekly: The Voting News Weekly for September 4-10 2017

In a welcome development, the Virginia State Board of Elections has decertifying all remain direct recording electronic voting systems in the state effective immediately. This leave 22 localities rushing to replace their equipment before November’s gubernatorial record. Virginia had already begun to phase DREs and had decertified the AVS WinVote in 2015.

According to an extensive Politico article, the U.S. needs hundreds of millions of dollars to protect future elections from hackers — but neither the states nor Congress is rushing to fill the gap. Instead, a nation still squabbling over the role Russian cyberattacks played in the 2016 presidential campaign is fractured about how to pay for the steps needed to prevent repeats in 2018 and 2020, according to interviews with dozens of state election officials, federal lawmakers, current and former Department of Homeland Security staffers and leading election security experts.

A study headed by Harvard Professor of Government and Technology in Residence Latanya Sweeney shows how online attackers may be able to purchase – for as little as a few thousand dollars – enough personal information to potentially alter voter registration information in as many as 35 states and the District of Columbia.

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff wrote a Washington Post oped on election cybersecurity that advocated a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would limit access to election systems to qualified vendors, secure voter registration logs, help ensure proper audits of elections, create more-secure information sharing about threats, and establish proper standards for transparency.a federal judge has sent two lawsuits challenging the state’s controversial new Republican-backed law tightening voter registration requirements back to the state Superior Court, where the claims were initially filed.

Facebook is facing intense political fallout and thorny legal questions a day after confirming that Russian funds paid for advertising on the social media platform aimed at influencing voters during last year’s presidential election. The New York Times looked at some of the fake Americans created to influence the US election.

In what is likely the first step toward a statewide switch to a new voting system, Georgia will pilot the use of paper ballots this November in a local municipal election. The state last overhauled its system in 2002, at a cost of at least $54 million, when it committed to Diebold touch-screen direct-recording electronic voting machines, or DREs, that were still in use for the controversial 6th special election earlier this year.

A federal judge has sent two lawsuits challenging the New Hampshire’s controversial new Republican-backed law tightening voter registration requirements back to the state Superior Court, where the claims were initially filed.

A week after a federal court ruled the Texas needed to redraw their congressional maps before the 2018 midterms, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily blocked the ruling. The developments put Texas in a court-ordered holding pattern on voting laws and districts, forcing political candidates to wait before filing paperwork and launching campaigns and laving voters uncertain about where they can vote, who they’re voting for and what documents they’ll need, if any, to cast a ballot.

An international team of researchers has informed the Estonian authorities of a vulnerability potentially affecting digital use of Estonian ID cards issued since October 2014; all the cards issued to e-residents are also affected. The news caused some Estonian politicians to call for a postponement of upcoming local elections, due to take place on 16 October. In Estonia, approximately 35% of the voters use digital identity to vote online.

Hackers from the Chaos Computer Club have revealed that Germany’s election results are vulnerable due to poorly protected software using an older encryption method with a single secret key, rather than newer and more-secure “asymmetrical” combinations. Germans vote on paper ballots, which are hand counted at the polling place on election night but the results are aggregated electronically, including with a software called PC-Wahl that can be manipulated.

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