National News

National: Safer Elections Mean Newer Equipment, No Networks | StateTech Magazine

April 13, 2017

Among the many contentious arguments of the 2016 presidential election was the question of the security of the vote itself. Accusations flew, with claims that the election would be rigged or hacked in some way. In part, those accusations were lent credence by the state of voting equipment in the United States. In many localities, equipment is approaching the end of its useful life; many states and counties last upgraded with the help of federal funding provided through the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

National: Global Cyber Norms Insufficient to Prevent Future Election Hacks | MeriTalk

April 14, 2017

As the State Department works to gain international support for its cybersecurity framework, experts said that global norms and deterrence won’t be enough to convince state actors not to influence elections through cyber means in the future. Robert Axelrod, Walgreen Professor for the study of human understanding at the University of Michigan, compared the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hacks to Watergate. Both incidents involved the theft of information. The difference is that in Watergate, the incident was handled by domestic law enforcement and the president resigned.

Editorials: Using randomness to protect election integrity | Eugene Vorobeychik/The Conversation

April 11, 2017

Democratic societies depend on trust in elections and their results. Throughout the 2016 presidential election, and since President Trump’s inauguration, allegations of Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential campaign have raised concerns about how vulnerable American elections are to hacking or other types of interference. Various investigations – involving congressional committees, the FBI and the intelligence community – are underway, seeking to understand what happened and how.

Editorials: The voting rights issue no one talks about: Ending the disenfranchisement of felons will strengthen democracy | Sean McElwee/Salon.com

April 3, 2017

Elections are decided by who votes — and increasingly, in America, by who cannot. Barriers to voting participation skew policy outcomes and elections to the right in the United States. One of the most racially discriminatory of these barriers is felon disenfranchisement. Nearly 6 million Americans are disenfranchised due to felonies. This may seem like a small share of the population, but the concentration of disenfranchisement in some states makes it enough to shift elections.

National: Questions, concerns continue to swirl around election security | GCN

April 5, 2017

At an April 4 Election Assistance Commission public hearing, a senior Department of Homeland Security official sought to stress one thing: The designation of election systems as critical infrastructure doesn’t cut into states’ autonomy. Concerns over DHS control have simmered since then-Secretary Jeh Johnson first suggested the critical infrastructure designation last summer.

Editorials: Web-Based Voting Isn’t Plausible—At Least Not Yet | Stan Hanks/Newsweek

April 3, 2017

Could we create an app for people to use for voting in national elections? I did some work on electronic voting systems problems with Ed Gerck in the early 2000s. It was hard then, it’s arguably harder now. This gets back to what some people have lobbied for since the early days of the Internet: the “Internet driver’s license.” In the U.S., to get a voter’s registration card, you have to prove you are who you say you are, that you live where you say you live, and that you’re a U.S. citizen.

National: DHS on elections systems as critical infrastructure: ‘It was already the law’ | Cyberscoop

March 31, 2017

A Homeland Security official gave some more insight into their efforts on designating election systems as critical infrastructure shortly after the 2016 presidential election, saying it helped the department streamline communication in the event of a incident. Neil Jenkins, from DHS’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, gave the first detailed account Wednesday of the process leading up to the controversial decision, which was made by departing officials in the final days of the Obama administration and widely panned by state and local authorities.

National: Lawmakers unveil bill to help state, local governments with cybersecurity | The Hill

March 3, 2017

A bipartisan pair of senators has introduced a bill that would require the federal government to do more to help state and local officials combat cyber threats. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Thursday announced that they have reintroduced the State and Local Cyber Protection Act, which would bolster cybersecurity cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and state and local governments.

Verified Voting Blog: Our Voting System Is Hackable by Foreign Powers | David Dill

February 17, 2017

The FBI, NSA and CIA all agree that the Russian government tried to influence the 2016 presidential election by hacking candidates and political parties and leaking the documents they gathered. That’s disturbing. But they could have done even worse. It is entirely possible for an adversary to hack American computerized voting systems directly and select the next commander in chief.

National: Locking down voting tech | GCN

February 16, 2017

State election officials are making plans to tighten security all along the voting chain – from voter registration to machine integrity, audit trails and help from the Department of Homeland Security under the new critical infrastructure designation. At a Feb. 13-14 meeting of the Election Assistance Commission, New Jersey State Department’s division of elections Bob Giles said that although his state’s voting machines are not connected to the internet, the attention garnered by Russia’s reported electoral influence has led to a rethinking of his agency’s cybersecurity protocols.

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