VI. Tech Thursday
Arkansas: During a recent update to the state’s computerized record-keeping system, thousands of Arkansas voters were incorrectly flagged as felons. In Pulaski County, Clerk Larry Crane said that almost half of the 2,000 voters flagged as felons should not have been flagged. County clerks are now having to review all of the flagged voters to determine if they should or should not be allowed to vote.
District of Columbia: InnoVote, a Washington, D.C.-based startup is hoping that sooner, rather than later, voters will be able to cast a secure ballot on their phones or tablets using open-source software. The software uses Blockchain, which was originally developed for Bitcoin. "Right now you have companies that are making software for elections, and if there are bugs or security flaws you have to find it after the fact," Stefan Nagey, one of the co-founders of InnoVote, told DCist. "InnoVote is going to be released as open source so anyone who is interested can look at this software and look for security problems and bugs. Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
Guam: The Guam Election Commission is launching new equipment that will help voters with disabilities cast an independent ballot. The GEC purchased the ES&S Automark machines from the Commonwealth Election Commission in Saipan. While only one machine is currently available for use, the GEC is working to repair more soon.
Illinois: The Illinois state voter registration database was accessed by hackers in mid-July and the state temporarily shut down the system as a precaution. According to the Southern Illinoisan, Hackers exploited “a chink in the armor in one small data field in the online registration system,” said Ken Menzel, the board’s general counsel. “We’re in the process of analyzing the tracks left by the attack,” Menzel told the paper. “We’re still not ready to say exactly what might have been gotten into.”
Rhode Island: The state has purchased 590 new voting machines that will replace 20-year-old voting equipment. The new optical-scan system will be in place in September. According to the Providence Journal, the total cost for the voting machines — an eight-year lease with an option to purchase — totals $9.28 million, including maintenance. The budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, includes nearly $1.4 million for the machines.