There is latest news coming on this front is from Bloomberg Government in an article by Megan R. Wilson and Michaela Ross:
Voting machine manufacturers are increasing their Capitol Hill presence as lawmakers demand they do more to protect U.S. elections against foreign hackers. Dominion Voting Systems — which commands more than a third of the voting-machine market without having Washington lobbyists — has hired its first, a high-powered firm that includes a longtime aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The No. 1 vendor, Election Systems & Software, added two new lobbying firms last fall. Members of Congress have criticized those and other companies for their security methods and business practices.
See full article here. US Federal, State, and Local elections employ a number voting materials and equipment during elections. Jamila Benkato, who serves as Council for nonprofit Protect Democracy, is one person warning that the major vendors ES&S, Hart, and Dominion produce approximately 92% of the equipment used during every US election. The role of these companies in US democracy cannot be underlooked yet the same role is under-examined, Benkato notes. According to the article:
“Perhaps most concerning are vendor efforts to keep secret the technology upon which American elections rely while at the same time feteing state and local election officials with expensive trips and meals. Vendors have actively and increasingly pushed back on efforts to study and analyze the equipment that forms the basic foundation of our democratic processes.”
Read Benkato’s very interesting arguments for reform in the article here. Benkato has previously worked as a law clerk to the Honorable David O. Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, at the ACLU of Southern California’s Immigrants’ Rights and National Security Projects, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee.
The backlash against voting machines without a paper trial is underway as more are demanding the use of paper ballots across the country. The continued use of voting machines without a paper trial is recognized as a big mistake from a security standpoint, as outlined in a great explanatory page on the website of the nonprofit fair election advocacy group, the Verified Voting Foundation:
The most important aspect of a voting system, with respect to accuracy, integrity and security, is whether or not it is independently auditable. That is, the very prerequisite to accuracy, integrity and security in today’s voting technology is that there be a voter-marked paper ballot, or at least a voter-verifiable paper audit trail, for every vote cast. This ensures that election officials will have something they can use to confirm whether or not the electronic tallies produced by the voting system accurately reflected the intention of the voters.
Even though the technology may be impressive, regular Democracy Chronicles readers might be sceptical. Using voting machines in any way is questionable in regard to security and can have a negative impact in voter confidence in election outcomes. Paper ballots are just more secure by nature and all computers have vulnerabilities.