“The Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security Report Release”


The Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania’s Election Security today released a final report recommending legislators consider bond issuances to help counties purchase voting systems with paper ballots and implement mandatory post-election audits and election emergency plans before the 2020 presidential election.
In September, the commission released interim recommendations to replace insecure Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems with those that incorporate voter-marked paper ballots, such as optical scan machines, and for state and federal governments to help counties cover associated costs. The final report reiterates those top priorities and provides a framework for swift legislative action.  …

Recommendations in the report include:
The Department of State should decertify DRE voting systems after Dec. 31, 2019, if not sooner, and should not certify DRE machines — not even with voter-verifiable paper audit trails. Only systems that tabulate voter-marked paper ballots, which are retained for recounts and audits, should be certified.
Pennsylvania’s governor, general assembly and counties should explore creative financing mechanisms such as a bond issuance to help counties fund the cost of replacing voting systems.
The general assembly should require transparent risk-limiting audits after each election.
The general assembly should revise the Pennsylvania Election Code to provide clear authority for the suspension or extension of elections due to widescale cyber-related attacks, natural disaster or other emergencies disruptive of voting.
The Pennsylvania Department of State and counties should include cybersecurity as a key selection factor when selecting election-related vendors.
The Commonwealth and counties should provide cybersecurity awareness training for election officials where it is not already in place.
The auditor general and Commonwealth’s Inter-Agency Election Preparedness and Security Workgroup should review the Commonwealth’s cyber incident response plans for improvements.


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