Virginia is replacing some of its electronic voting machines over security concerns


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Virginia’s State Election Board determined to exchange all of its direct-voting digital voting machines following a recommendation from the state’s Department of Elections on Friday, according to Politico (by way of Engadget). The units might be changed by machines that “produce a paper path.”

Direct Recording Digital (DRE) voting machines are terminals that permit voters to forged their vote with a contact display or different digital interface, which is tallied onto a pc. This doesn’t depart any bodily path that a vote was forged, which has result in considerations about verifying the ultimate end in an occasion the place a vote known as into query. Different machines, comparable to an optical scan voting system, requires voters to fill out a bodily poll, from which the votes are electronically tallied. The division’s report notes that its suggestion doesn’t have an effect on all the state: solely 22 municipalities use the DRE techniques whereas the remainder of the state makes use of optical or digital scan machines.

Virginia is poised to carry a common election in November, and the Virginia Info Know-how Company issued an preliminary report back to the Division that said that “in every of the [DRE] methods, the potential for lack of vote is critical, as not one of the machines seem to supply paper audit trails through the voting course of.”

The state’s Board of Elections at a demonstration at Defcon in July, hackers confirmed that quite a lot of voting methods might simply be tampered with, together with ones utilized by the state. The board famous that different causes for its suggestion embrace the state of the “present safety setting surrounding the election administration, and that the machines don’t produce a bodily paper path to confirm votes. “In sum,” wrote board Commissioner Edgardo Cortes, “the Division of Elections believes that the dangers introduced through the use of this gear within the November Common Election are sufficiently vital to warrant speedy decertification to make sure the continued integrity of Virginia elections.”

Throughout final yr’s presidential election, considerations have been raised concerning the safety of voting methods, as individual machines are fairly insecure, though the bigger electoral system can be a lot more durable to tamper with. Nonetheless, there’s some proof that Russian hackers mounted attacks against systems in 39 states to various ranges of success, though none of these assaults included voting machines and didn’t seem to vary any votes. Nonetheless, the considerations are sufficient to immediate the state to advocate altering over its infrastructure to one thing that may at the least be examined after the very fact.