News

National: Voting Machine Hackers Have 5 Tips to Save the Next Election | WIRED

August 7, 2017

American Democracy depends on the sanctity of the vote. In the wake of the 2016 election, that inviolability is increasingly in question, but given that there are 66 weeks until midterm elections, and 14 weeks until local 2017 elections, there’s plenty of time to fix the poor state of voting technology, right? Wrong. To secure voting infrastructure in the US in time for even the next presidential election, government agencies must start now.

National: States ramping up defenses against election hacks | The Hill

August 7, 2017

States across the nation are ramping up their digital defenses to prevent the hacking of election systems in 2018. The efforts come in the wake of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, which state officials say was a needed wake up call on cybersecurity threats to election systems and infrastructure. … Security experts are still divided over the extent of hacking risks to actual voting machines.

National: DEFCON Hackers Found Many Holes in Voting Machines and Poll Systems | IEEE Spectrum

August 4, 2017

E-voting machines and voter registration systems used widely in the United States and other countries’ elections can readily be hacked—in some cases with less than two hours’ work. This conclusion emerged from a three-day-long hackathon at the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas last weekend. Some of those hacks could potentially leave no trace, undercutting the assurances of election officials and voting machine companies who claim that virtually unhackable election systems are in place.

National: Voting machines and election systems – a quick look | Associated Press

August 3, 2017

Digital voting machines are in the spotlight in Venezuela, where the head of Smartmatic, a maker of election systems used in the country’s tumultuous constituent-assembly election, said Wednesday that the official turnout figure had been “tampered with .” The company’s CEO said the count was off by at least 1 million votes — possibly in either direction. Tibisay Lucena, head of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, dismissed that allegation as an “irresponsible declaration” that might lead to legal action.

Minnesota: State to provide funds to counties for election equipment | Park Rapids Enterprise

July 27, 2017

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon stopped in Hubbard County last week as he toured the state talking about the need to replace aging election equipment. Simon was seeking $28 million from the Legislature to help counties pay for the project. In May, a bill was signed into law that created a $7 million grant fund to help replace the aging equipment by 2020. The fund provides up to a 50 percent match between the state and counties for mandatory equipment and up to a 75 percent match for electronic poll books.

Editorials: Digital ballots, outdated machinery leave us exposed to a second Russian hack | Jason Smith/USA Today

July 21, 2017

The Russians aren’t coming. They came. And they launched a cyber strike on last fall’s elections for which the consequences remain an unknown. It’s a sexy, new Cold War replete with headlines featuring the president’s son and a curious meeting with Russians last summer. Sadly, what gets lost within these seductive media narratives are the comprehensive hazards of America’s voting components. It’s essential to note that there’s no confirmed proof any vote recording or ballot tallies were altered back in November.

Colorado: State to require advanced post-election audits | Politco

July 21, 2017

Colorado on Monday said it will become the first state to regularly conduct a sophisticated post-election audit that cybersecurity experts have long called necessary for ensuring hackers aren’t meddling with vote tallies. The procedure — known as a “risk-limiting” audit — allows officials to double-check a sample of paper ballots against digital tallies to determine whether results were tabulated correctly. The election security firm Free & Fair will design the auditing software for Colorado, and the state will make the technology available for other states to modify for their own use.

California: Los Angeles County Sets Its Sights On Updated, ‘Secure’ Voting System | KHTS

July 21, 2017

As Los Angeles County prepares for the procurement and manufacturing stage of its nationally-recognized Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP), Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan is focusing resources on election security.

National: 15 States Use Easily Hackable Voting Machines | HuffPost

July 18, 2017

In 2006, Princeton computer science professor Edward Felten received an anonymous message offering him a Diebold AccuVote TS, one of the most widely used touch-screen voting machines at the time. Manufacturers like Diebold touted the touch-screens, known as direct-recording electronic (DRE) machines, as secure and more convenient than their paper-based predecessors. Computer experts were skeptical, since any computer can be vulnerable to viruses and malware, but it was hard to get ahold of a touch-screen voting machine to test it.

Wisconsin: Recount “Reform” Bills Worsen Already Opaque Elections, Critics Warn | WhoWhatWhy

July 14, 2017

Wisconsin’s legislature is preparing to vote on a pair of bills that would enact stricter standards for election recounts. The impetus for this legislation was Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s successful recount petition after her distant finish in last year’s presidential election. “The situation that we had last fall, with somebody who finished way back in the pack requesting a recount was, I believe, the first time anything like that has ever happened,” Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney told WhoWhatWhy.

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