News

National: Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known | Bloomberg

June 14, 2017

Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported. In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database.

National: If Voting Machines Were Hacked, Would Anyone Know? | NPR

June 14, 2017

As new reports emerge about Russian-backed attempts to hack state and local election systems, U.S. officials are increasingly worried about how vulnerable American elections really are. While the officials say they see no evidence that any votes were tampered with, no one knows for sure. Voters were assured repeatedly last year that foreign hackers couldn’t manipulate votes because, with few exceptions, voting machines are not connected to the Internet.

Georgia: How safe are the state’s voting machines? | Atlanta Journal-Constitution

June 13, 2017

Millions of voters have cast their ballots in Georgia using machines that offer a now-common experience: Press the touch screen, record your choice on anything from a local mayoral race to a presidential election. It is a simple action that belies the complex system that supports it. And it is a system that is under increasing attack. Georgia’s aging election system has flaws that could be exploited if a malicious hacker ever breached it, experts say.

California: Here’s why California officials want $450 million to upgrade elections technology | Press Enterprise

June 2, 2017

Imagine using a dial-up modem for Internet and VHS for entertainment in 2017. California elections officials say they face a similar situation with the technology used for a bedrock function of democracy. It’s why Secretary of State Alex Padilla supports a bill to raise $450 million through bonds to upgrade elections technology in California’s 58 counties. The bill, AB 668, passed the Assembly 56-19 on Wednesday, May 31. If it passes the Senate and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California voters will decide whether to authorize the bonds in June 2018.

National: Top hacker conference to target voting machines | Politico

May 26, 2017

Hackers will target American voting machines—as a public service, to prove how vulnerable they are. When over 25,000 of them descend on Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas at the end of July for DEFCON, the world’s largest hacking conference, organizers are planning to have waiting what they call “a village” of different opportunities to test how easily voting machines can be manipulated.

National: How Applied Mathematics Could Help Democracy | The Atlantic

May 26, 2017

American voting relies heavily on technology. Voting machines and ballot counters have sped up the formerly tedious process of counting votes. Yet long-standing research shows that these technologies are susceptible to errors and manipulation that could elect the wrong person. In the 2016 presidential election, those concerns made their way into public consciousness, worrying both sides of the political fence. The uncertainty led to a set of last-minute, expensive state recounts—most of which were incomplete or blocked by courts.

Michigan: Bill Aims To Boost Fee For Election Recount When Margin Isn’t Close | Associated Press

May 23, 2017

Legislation up for a vote in the Michigan Senate would double the fee for losing candidates to file recount petitions if they are down by more than 5 percentage points. The bill is a response to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount last fall despite her winning 1 percent of the vote. The Republican-sponsored measure to be approved Tuesday would increase recount fees from $125 per precinct to $250 if losing candidates are behind by more than 5 points.

Internet voting and paperless machines have got to go - Star Tribune

May 22, 2017

Internet voting and paperless machines have got to go

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National: 3 Things Election Tech Officials Need Right Now | Government Technology

May 19, 2017

The U.S. is in the midst of a historic moment of civic participation. And while protesters march in the streets and politicians wrangle with each other over the aftermath of an election, the people who actually run elections are quietly working on making their systems better. And those systems are, by all accounts, in need of updating.

National: Transforming Election Cybersecurity | Council on Foreign Relations

May 18, 2017

The 2016 U.S. election constituted a watershed for democracies in the digital age. During the election cycle, fears proliferated among policymakers and the public that foreign actors could exploit cyber technologies [PDF] to tamper with voter registration, access voting machines, manipulate storage and transmission of results, and influence election outcomes. Russian information operations and disinformation on social media compounded these fears about election cybersecurity by raising questions about foreign interference with the election’s integrity.

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