“The election security hole everyone ignores; Increasing numbers of polling places use electronic devices to check in voters and verify their eligibility. But the devices often create chaos and introduce new vulnerabilities to elections.”

Kim Zetter for Politico:

Growing numbers of elections offices across the U.S. are using electronic devices to sign voters in at the polls — a shift that has occurred with little scrutiny despite a host of security questions and a history of balloting meltdowns.

Problems with the devices, known as electronic pollbooks, caused long lines during this year’s presidential primary in Los Angeles County and contributed to chaos and hours-long waits during Georgia’s primary in June. They led to past years’ snafus in places such as Philadelphia, North Carolina, Indiana and South Dakota.

While tampering with e-pollbooks wouldn’t directly change anyone’s vote, malfunctions or cyberattacks against the devices could sway the outcome in other ways — for instance by causing delays that prevent people from voting.

Pollbooks, unlike voting machines, do not undergo federal testing and certification and have no uniform standards governing their design or security. There is also no oversight of the handful of vendors who dominate the industry to ensure they keep their own networks secure. Kremlin-linked hackers attempted to breach the network of at least one U.S. e-pollbook provider in 2016, according to a leaked NSA document..

Federal lawmakers such as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have questioned electronic pollbook makers about the security of their products and networks. E-pollbooks and the companies that make them have gone too long without oversight, Wyden told POLITICO in an email…

“Anecdotally, when you dig into problems that happen at polling places, more often than not it’s the electronic pollbooks rather than the voting machines” that cause issues, said Larry Norden, director of the center’s Election Reform Program. “I’ve spoken with a lot of election officials who are frustrated that there are no [national] standards for pollbooks and no testing.”

Election Systems & Software, one of the top providers of e-pollbooks, told POLITICO it would support a change to this state of affairs.

“[W]e believe Congress should establish standards for mandatory testing for both voter registration and pollbooks for all U.S. election providers,” ES&S spokesperson Katina Granger said in an email.


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