Virginia Suspends E-Voting Machines Due to Cybersecurity Concerns

In a unanimous vote, Virginia’s Board of Elections has decertified all of the state’s touchscreen voting machines due to cybersecurity measures.

Virginia has agreed to immediately pull all paperless touchscreen voting machines ahead of the upcoming gubernatorial election in November following concerns by cybersecurity experts. Taken on Friday, the decision comes following a recommendation by the Virginia Department of Elections that the machines be decertified.

Virginia’s state lection director Edgardo Cortes recommended the state decertify direct-recording machines which count votes digitally with no paper-trial to check against a final result.

Cortes, who is also the commissioner of the Department of Elections stated:

The Department of Elections believes that the risks presented by using this equipment in the November General Election are sufficiently significant to warrant immediate decertification to ensure the continued integrity of Virginia elections.

The decision to decertify the machines was lauded as “a critical step toward securing its elections,” by Barbara Simons, president of Verified Voting, a non-profit that advocates for auditable elections. With the decision, the race is now on to replace the touch-screen machines which are used in 22 counties across the state.

Simons said:

Virginia’s move to decertify all of its paperless voting machines is a critical step toward securing its elections and acknowledging that post-2016, we’re living in a brave new world where election interference from hostile foreign attackers is no longer theoretical.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, at least 20 states have had their election systems targeted by Russian hackers last year in the lead up to the US Presidential elections. The likes of Arizona and Illinois have publicly confirmed that hackers targeted their voter registration systems.

Five other states solely rely on the same ‘vulnerable’ director record electronic machines, according to Verified Voting. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia are among the states that still use touchscreen machines.