Report: Little progress on voting security ahead of 2018 US congressional elections

Minimal progress has been made to fortify U.S. voting machines ahead of the 2018 midterm elections despite a multitude of warnings in the past few years of the cybersecurity threat they're under, according to a new report.

The report from the Brennan Center for Justice – a division of the New York University School of Law focused on democracy and justice issues – found that 41 states have voting systems that are at least a decade old, only three fewer states than had the aging machines in 2016. Further, an estimated 43 states and Washington, D.C., will use machines that are no longer manufactured, the same number as in 2015, putting the machines at risk of malfunctions and breakdowns that are difficult to repair.

"Using obsolete software poses serious security risks: vendors may no longer write security patches for it; jurisdictions cannot replace critical hardware that is failing because it is incompatible with their new, more secure hardware; and the software itself is vulnerable to cyberattacks," the report says.

Related: More on the 2018 congressional elections

Congressional lawmakers not seeking re-election come 2018
See Gallery
Congressional lawmakers not seeking re-election come 2018
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) 
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
U.S. Republican Representative Darrell Issa
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-CA)
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas)

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) 

Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)

Rep. John 'Jimmy' Duncan (R-Tenn.)

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota)

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) 

(Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas)

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) 

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Washington)

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-New Mexico)


Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio)

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-New Jersey

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Florida

Photo Credit: Getty 

Rep. Pat Meehan, R-Pa.

Photo Credit: Getty

Sen. William Larkin (R-NY)

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)



While nearly impossible to improve voting systems in all jurisdictions ahead of the upcoming midterm elections, the report calls on the federal government to grant states the funds necessary to replace equipment and conduct post-election audits in order to improve voter security by 2019, ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

"You want to implement new systems in a year when poll workers won't be so busy. Macy's wouldn't roll out new cash registers on Black Friday," Sherry Poland, director of elections of Hamilton County, Ohio, told the Brennan Center.

The report comes just over three weeks after U.S. intelligence agencies published their Worldwide Threat Assessment report, which warned that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea pose significant cybersecurity threats to U.S. politics ahead of the 2018 congressional elections.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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