Colonial Heights and Hopewell are among 22 localities in Virginia that have received a last-minute order from the State Board of Elections to replace their voting machines in time for the election coming up on Nov. 7. At its Sept. 8 meeting, the board voted to “decertify” all voting machines using direct recording electronic (DRE) technology, also known as “touchscreen” machines. The board took the step in response to concerns raised by Department of Elections staff over the machines’ potential vulnerability to hackers and the lack of a paper trail to verify the accuracy of the votes they record. In particular, reports from an annual conference of computer hackers known as DEFCON, held last summer, showed that hackers had successfully breached the security of DRE voting machines, including one report that disclosed the password for a machine that was in use somewhere in Virginia.
The General Assembly had already passed a bill in 2016 that ordered local election officials to phase out the DRE machines. Somewhat ironically, the original Senate version of the bill had set a deadline of July 1 of this year to eliminate the DREs, but the final version signed into law moved the deadline out to 2020.
Election officials in Colonial Heights and Hopewell were thus aware that their machines would need to be replaced in the near future, so they weren’t completely unprepared when the order came down from the state.
“We have been looking anyway and checking out the new technology and talking with other localities that have used it,” said Hopewell Registrar Pam Clark.
Full Article: Voting machines to be replaced due to security worries.