On April 1, the Virginia Department of Elections released an interim report citing critical, potential security concerns with the WinVote DREs, in particular with the wireless capability of the system. Despite the date, this was no joke. Following scattered reports of problems with voting systems in the state during the November 2014 election, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) called for an investigation into the irregularities. The State Board of Elections began its review in late 2014, but it wasn’t until early 2015 that the extent of the problem became obvious. “We really didn’t know until early February that there was a potential security issue with the WinVotes,” said Edgardo Cortes, commissioner of elections for the Commonwealth. “At that point we moved quickly to conduct additional testing, but it wasn’t until the preliminary test results were provided on March 26 that we knew how serious a vulnerability we were facing.” Twenty-nine localities — about 20 percent of the precincts in the Commonwealth — use the WinVote DREs and of those, 10 are facing June primaries.
On April 14, the SBE will meet at which time Cortes anticipates the board may decertify the system for use in Virginia. “We know the timing of this is not great – but there is never a good time to discuss possible decertification of a voting system,” Cortes said. “I have been in elections for a long time and we would not have recommended the board consider such a serious and immediate option for a minor issue.”
Since the reports release, the SBE has been in touch with all the affected localities, especially those with upcoming primaries. The board has also surveyed the localities to identify some of their needs
The SBE has solicited information from voting system vendors about their capacity to help the jurisdictions conduct a successful June primary and all the vendor plans are available on the state’s website.
Cortes said they have also been exploring the ability of localities to share equipment with neighbors and other “creative ideas suggested by our local registrars and electoral board members.”
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.