US voting machines are failing. Here’s why.
- Published on: 3/29/2018
- The greatest threat to American voting machines might not be hacking, but old age.
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In our latest collaboration with ProPublica, we take a look at US election security and the status of American voting machines. Check out the full ProPublica report at: https://bit.ly/2Hw3Dcb.
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In 2017, hackers Rick Rolled a voting machine in Las Vegas. Even though the machine was out-of-date and the demonstration didn’t replicate real-life conditions, the stunt brought national attention to an election crisis that has been building ever since the “hanging chad” fiasco that occurred during the 2000 Presidential election recount.
In her story on American election security, ProPublica’s Kate Rabinowitz revealed that many state and local election officials are suffering a funding crisis. Without the money needed to maintain and update electronic voting machines, officials are having to make do with equipment that was manufactured in 2008 or even earlier. At that time, most machines had recently been replaced thanks to the 2002 Help America Vote Act, but few have been updated since.
By isolating machines from the internet and keeping them in secure locations, officials are able to reduce the threat of widespread hacking, but the machines are plagued with more mundane technical problems that states have been slow to address and could have major consequences for future elections.
On the bright side, the omnibus spending bill that was passed in March 2018 allocated $380 million dollars for state election officials to update their voting infrastructure. Whether that money is actually provided and how it will be spent, however, remains to be seen.
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