National News

Editorials: The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked. | Zeynep Tufecki /The New York Times

August 13, 2016

Voting isn’t a game, of course, and we need to trust the machines that count our votes. Especially this year. Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, raised the possibility of “rigged” elections, and his former adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. has warned of a “blood bath” in such a case. A recent poll found that 34 percent of likely voters believed the general election would be rigged. It’s unclear what mechanism the Trump campaign envisions for this rigging.

Editorials: After DNC hack, the case for paper ballots | Glenn Reynolds/USA Today

July 29, 2016

Somebody — probably, though not certainly, Vladimir Putin’s intelligence apparatus — has hacked the Democratic Committee’s email servers and released some of what it found via the Wikileaks site.  As Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith notes, this is something new:  Although meddling in foreign elections is old stuff for intelligence agencies (including our own), this sort of email release is unprecedented.

National: By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines | Bruce Schneier/The Washington Post

July 28, 2016

Russia was behind the hacks into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network that led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the party’s convention began, U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded. The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation’s computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election.

National: How Technology Is Shaping Voter Registration and the Election Process for States and Localities | StateTech Magazine

July 20, 2016

As Hennepin County, Minn., prepares to implement its new electronic poll book system in August, one of election officials’ main concerns has been how to train poll workers. The workers are wonderful, says Hennepin County Elections Manager Ginny Gelms, but many are older and not very comfortable using technology. Those worries proved unfounded when the poll workers in a neighboring county’s pilot project said they would return only if they could use the electronic poll books again. “That was a real eye-opener for me,” Gelms says.

Working with observers to improve voting system reliability

July 15, 2016

The goals of election observation are enhanced public confidence in the efficiency and integrity of the election process, and more efficient election operations.

National: Oregon legislators propose national vote-by-mail bill | The Oregonian

July 15, 2016

Voting rights across the country are under attack, according to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s office. To combat that, Wyden and Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced a bill Thursday to expand Oregon’s vote-by-mail system nationwide. Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer is spearheading a related measure in the House. The bill – the Vote By Mail Act of 2016 – would require every state to provide registered voters the chance to vote by mail and send ballots and pre-paid envelopes out at least two weeks before an election.

National: Why Can’t We Just Vote Online? | Pacific Standard

July 12, 2016

During the 2012 American presidential election, 129 million people cast ballots, while 106 million eligible voters neglected to do so. That’s only a 54.9 percent conversion rate, not to mention the 51 million voters who weren’t registered. Meanwhile, in 2015, there were almost 172 million Americans making purchases online. Those are apples and oranges, admittedly, but the ease with which the shopping occurs only helps its proliferation. If the ultimate goal is maximizing the country’s voting turnout, shouldn’t we develop an Internet voting system?

National: Cyber Vulnerabilities Threaten 2016 Election | Risk & Insurance

July 8, 2016

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of registered voters believe the 2016 presidential campaign will be compromised by a cyber breach in some way, according to a poll conducted by data security firm PKWARE and Wakefield Research. Their concerns are not unwarranted; at a time when breaches and data theft make headlines on a regular basis, much of the voting process remains unprotected.

Voting Blogs: TGDC Releases Draft Project Charter for New Voting System Standards | Election Academy

July 8, 2016

The Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) may not be well-known, but it plays a crucial role in the process of standards-setting in the field of voting technology testing and certification. About a year ago, the TGDC announced that it was going to convene a series of public working groups as part of a new approach to updating the federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Late last month, the TGDC issued a draft project charter for VVSG version 2.0 that attempts to define both the scope of the project and lay out a way forward. 

National: Uniformity in Voting Systems: Looking at the Crazy Quilt of Election Technology | The Canvass

June 23, 2016

Since the late 1800s, the decision of whether to use voting machines to help tabulate votes, and which machine to use, has traditionally been left up to local jurisdictions. As different technology was introduced, legislatures passed requirements on what voting machines had to do. However, within those parameters it was still usually up to localities to choose (and purchase) the equipment itself. As a result, voting equipment used in the country looked like a crazy quilt.

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