Center for Democracy & Technology Report on Ballot-Marking Devices

Available here. From the summary:

BMDs are widely used in U.S. elections and come with several benefits for election officials and voters. Because of their accessibility features — for example, allowing users to increase the displayed font size, use an auditory or sip-and-puff interface, or change the displayed language — they enable voters to vote independently and privately, when they might otherwise be unable to do so. They also prevent certain mistakes that could cause a ballot to be uncounted or counted incorrectly, like stray pen marks and overvoting (i.e., voting for too many candidates in a contest). 

However, BMDs have been generally criticized as posing serious security risks to elections. Georgia’s BMDs have specifically been the focus of recent investigation from security researchers. A report conducted by security researcher J. Alex Halderman, which is currently under seal, reportedly indicates specific vulnerabilities in these machines. In June 2022, the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) released an advisory summarizing these vulnerabilities. ….

BMDs are likely to be an important part of election infrastructure in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, we also look ahead to how BMD security might be enhanced in the long term, particularly as vendors start implementing the provisions in the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s recent update to the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG 2.0)—the first major update in 15 years.

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