Pressure grows to replace voting machines

    Time and money are running short for states to replace aging or inadequate voting machines before the 2020 presidential primaries, according to a report released this morning.

    State and local election officials in 31 states, including Louisiana, say they want to replace their voting equipment before the elections, but the vast majority said they don’t have enough money to do so, according to The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law.

    “We basically have this year and then it’s too late,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the center’s Democracy Program and author of the report. It can take months to decide on replacement machines, secure the funding, develop security protocols, train workers and test the equipment.

    In Louisiana, plans to replace voting machines have been stalled amid a dispute over the bidding process, though the purchase and installation was fully funded. The process to decide which vendor would sell new machines to the state fell apart over allegations of improper meddling. The state’s chief procurement officer rejected the winning $95 million bid by Dominion Voting Systems Inc., of Denver, and ordered the process to begin again.

    More broadly, states received $380 million in election security grants from Congress in 2018, but experts have said that’s merely a down payment on what is needed.

    The most urgent concern centers on the 12 states that use, either statewide or in certain local jurisdictions, electronic voting machines that do not produce a paper record so voters can verify their choices before they cast their ballot. Louisiana fits within this group of states where experts say the voting machines are vulnerable and hackers could manipulate the outcome without detection. Read the full story about the race to replace these machines around the U.S.

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