New Election Systems Use Vulnerable Software:

July 14, 2019

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The troubling revelations reported by the Associated Press raise important questions that citizens and election officials should be asking of the vendors that provide the machinery that underpins our democracy.

In the last year, states and localities have spent over $100M on new systems from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), in many cases expensive Expressvote ballot marking device systems, which rely on soon-to-be outdated Windows 7 to run the election management system. ES&S states that it is currently testing a version of its latest software to operate on Windows 10 and that will be available in the near future.

The cost to upgrade these recently purchased systems to Windows 10 will be considerable. Did ES&S alert its customers to this looming problem? Will ES&S agree to pay for Microsoft updates to Windows 7 and provide those updates to the states for free?

As we move forward to shore up our election system security, we hope to understand the answers to some of these questions as we protect our votes, our elections and our taxpayers.

This unnecessary crisis highlights the need for a more robust federal testing and certification program, as well as better education and cooperation as federal and private partners work to help election officials navigate the complex world of computer security.