Ahead Of 2020, Microsoft Unveils Tool To Allow Voters To Track Their Ballots

NPR — In an effort to improve confidence in elections, Microsoft announced Monday that it is releasing an open-source software development kit called ElectionGuard that will use encryption techniques to let voters know when their vote is counted. It will also allow election officials and third parties to verify election results to make sure there was no interference with the results. Learn more>>

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DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System

Motherboard — DARPA and Galois won’t be asking people to blindly trust that their voting systems are secure—as voting machine vendors currently do. Instead they’ll be publishing source code for the software online and bring prototypes of the systems to the Def Con Voting Village this summer and next, so that hackers and researchers will be able to freely examine the systems themselves and conduct penetration tests to gauge their security. They’ll also be working with a number of university teams over the next year to have them examine the systems in formal test environments. Learn more>>

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State election officials opt for 2020 voting machines vulnerable to hacking

New York Times | The story started, as many do, with our own confusion. The most unusual of presidential elections — one marred by Russian trolls, a digital Watergate-style break-in and the winning candidate’s dire warnings of a “rigged election” — was followed by the most unusual period of acceptance. In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, government officials, the Clinton campaign, intelligence analysts, and civic and legal groups all appeared to calmly accept claims that votes had not been hacked.

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Are Blockchains the Answer for Secure Elections? Probably Not

Scientific American — A raft of start-ups has been hawking what they see as a revolutionary solution: repurposing blockchains, best known as the digital transaction ledgers for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, to record votes. Backers say these internet-based systems would increase voter access to elections while improving tamper-resistance and public auditability. But experts in both cybersecurity and voting see blockchains as needlessly complicated, and no more secure than other online ballots.  Learn more>>

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Senator presses White House to improve election cyber protections

Federal Computer Week — On the day that a special election in Alabama captured national attention, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter urging National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster to take additional steps to secure the nation’s election infrastructure and provide support to state and local governments ahead of next year's mid-term elections. Learn more>>

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In Election Interference, It’s What Reporters Didn’t Find That Matters

New York Times | The story started, as many do, with our own confusion. The most unusual of presidential elections — one marred by Russian trolls, a digital Watergate-style break-in and the winning candidate’s dire warnings of a “rigged election” — was followed by the most unusual period of acceptance. In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, government officials, the Clinton campaign, intelligence analysts, and civic and legal groups all appeared to calmly accept claims that votes had not been hacked.

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Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny

New York Times | After a presidential campaign scarred by Russian meddling, local, state and federal agencies have conducted little of the type of digital forensic investigation required to assess the impact, if any, on voting in at least 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russian hackers, according to interviews with nearly two dozen national security and state officials and election technology specialists.

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Electronic voting systems in the U.S. need post-election audits

TechTarget | Colorado will implement a new system for auditing electronic voting systems. Post-election audits have been proven to help, but are they enough to boost public trust in the systems?

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Cybersecurity experts were blocked in their push to patch voting systems in 2016

The Spokesman-Review | They knew Russian operatives might try to tamper with the nation’s electronic voting systems. Many people inside the U.S. government and the Obama White House also knew. In the summer of 2016, a cluster of volunteers on a federally supervised cybersecurity team crafting 2018 election guidelines felt compelled to do something sooner. Chatting online, they scrambled to draw up ways for state and local officials to patch the most obvious cyber vulnerabilities before Election Day 2016.

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Open-Source Software Won’t Ensure Election Security

Lawfare | The technology behind elections is hard to get right. Elections require security. They also require transparency: anyone should be able to observe enough of the election process, from distribution of ballots, to the counting and canvassing of votes, to verify that the reported winners really won. But if people vote on computers or votes are tallied by computers, key steps of the election are not transparent and additional measures are needed to confirm the results.

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