As election season continues to brew, four senators are calling for leading voting machine developers to amp up their systems to get ahead of possible election interference.
Election Systems & Software, Dominion Voting Systems, and Hart InterCivic were named in a recent letter from members of the Senate due to the cybersecurity risks that the companies could pose for a looming election cycle.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) are calling for more innovation and competition in election machine makers.
“The integrity of our elections remains under serious threat,” the Senators said in the letter to the companies. “The integrity of our elections is directly tied to the machines we vote on – the products that you make.”
Election Systems and Software gained national attention back in November when it was revealed that its Model 650 election machines — a commonly used voting machine vulnerable to hacks — were still being sold. Although hackers at the 2018 Defcon conference were able to crack into the systems, a spokesperson for Election Systems and Software said that it would be extremely difficult to accomplish in “a real-world environment.”
“Despite the progress that has been made, election security experts and federal and state government officials continue to warn that more must be done to fortify our election systems,” the Senators said in a letter. “Of particular concern is the fact that many of the machines that Americans use to vote have not been meaningfully updated in nearly two decades.”
The letter lists 16 questions for the leading election machine companies ranging from cybersecurity protocols to system development.
Social media companies are also gearing up for the fight against election interference and the spread of misinformation. In November, Twitter removed more than 10,000 accounts purposely sharing incorrect voting dates, times and locations. Facebook even set up a “war room” within the same month to stop misinformation campaigns.
In December, Facebook received huge backlash from the NAACP, which launched a week-long protest against the company and all of its properties for how it handled Russian election interference. The campaign interference disproportionately targeted African American Facebook users.
Election season will prove to be a difficult time for social media companies, hardware companies, and politicians who are vying for voters.
As we get closer to 2020 lawmakers want to ensure that the equipment voters are using is safe and secure.