Last month, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to ___ voting systems manufacturers with a series of questions asking how their organizations were structured and what steps they have taken to ensure their machines are protected from cyber threats. FCW obtained the responses from five of the companies. All maintained that they had no evidence of security breaches, though overall Wyden indicated in a statement that he was not impressed with the company’s response. “These responses suggest the voting machine industry has severely underinvested in cybersecurity. It’s cause for alarm that [ES&S] refused to answer a single question about whether it is securing its systems,” Wyden said. “Given what happened during the 2016 election, voting technology companies must move aggressively to secure their products.”
Leaders of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security called on House appropriators to fund state efforts to secure voting infrastructure. In a letter, two members of the House Appropriations Committee, U.S. Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Robert Brady (D-PA) called for the $400 million that remains available under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 be used to secure state voting systems.
A U.S. District Court judge said a Justice Department attorney told the court Friday that the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity “will not meet in December.” The news fueled more questions about the panel’s future and its viability.
A New York Times report investigates the purging of voter rolls. They notes “[c]onservative groups and Republican election officials in some states say the poorly maintained rolls invite fraud and meddling by hackers, sap public confidence in elections and make election workers’ jobs harder. Voting rights advocates and most Democratic election officials, in turn, say that the benefits are mostly imaginary, and that the purges are intended to reduce the number of minority, poor and young voters, who are disproportionately Democrats.”
Colorado became the first state in the nation after this month’s election to complete a risk-limiting election audit. Matt Masterson, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, who witnessed the audit. “Colorado’s risk-limiting audit provided great insights into how to conduct more efficient and effective post-election audits. (The commission) is eager to share some of the lessons learned with election officials across America.”
Following a successful trial of paper ballot voting systems in Georgia, ES&S is attempting to convince the state to spend additional funds needlessly by purchasing ballot marking devices for all voters, rather than allowing voters to mar their votes by hand. Susan Greenhalgh, the vice president of programs for Verified Voting said an election system lthat requires voters to mark ballots by hand before they’re scanned by a machine could cost Georgians as little as $30 million, saving tens of millions of dollars. “It would be unnecessarily costly for the state to spend all that money,” she said. “If you’re physically marking a ballot, there’s a pretty good chance it will be counted as the voter intended.”
More than 2,900 double votes were cast during municipal elections in York County due to a voting machine programming error. County officials said at first that the issue did not appear to affect the outcome of any races. But if vote tallies provided by the county are correct, the West York Borough Council contest might have been impacted.
A federal judge in Alexandria rejected Democrats’ emergency bid to halt the State Board of Elections from certifying the vote totals in House District 28, increasing pressure on state elections officials to act in the Fredericksburg-area contest. The elections board was scheduled to meet to certify the results on Wednesday morning, but the elections officials announced late Tuesday that they had postponed the meeting until next Monday.
After the FDP walked away from coalition talks with CDU/CSU and the Greens last weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the prospect of talks on a “grand coalition” with her Social Democrat (SPD) rivals and defended the record of the previous such government. The Guardian considered echoes of the troubled Weimar government of the 1920s in Germany’s current difficulties in coalition-buiding.
Kenya’s supreme court has upheld the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta in last month’s controversial re-run of presidential elections, clearing the way for the 55-year-old leader to be sworn in for a second and final term next week. The country’s first attempted election was annulled by the supreme court over voting irregularities and a re-run was held earlier this month.