Election Systems and Software

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National: Voting machine vendor ES&S treated election officials to trips to Vegas, elsewhere | McClatchy Washington Bureau

The nation’s largest voting equipment vendor has for at least nine years coaxed state and local elections officials to serve on an “advisory board” that gathers twice annually for company-sponsored conferences, including one last year at a ritzy Las Vegas resort hotel. The arrangement could compromise the integrity of the officials’ decisions — or at the very least, the optics of those decisions — at a time when they are faced with efforts by Russia and perhaps other nations to disrupt the upcoming mid-term elections, ethics and elections experts said. As many as a dozen election officials attended the March 2, 2017 Las Vegas meeting, with a number of them accepting airfare, lodging, meals and, according to one participant, a ticket to a show on the Strip from their voting systems vendor, Nebraska-based Election Systems and Software (ES&S). Two other panel members said their state election boards paid for their trips. The unusual practice, which has not previously been reported, offers a glimpse of one way in which a voting equipment manufacturer has sought to cement relationships with government officials, some of whom play roles in the award of millions of dollars in contracts. Read More

National: US senator seeks cyber info from voting machine makers | The Washington Post

A U.S. senator wants to know how well the country’s top six voting machine manufactures protect themselves against cyberattacks, a move that comes just weeks after federal authorities notified 21 states that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 presidential election. In a letter Tuesday to the CEOs of top election technology firms, Sen. Ron Wyden writes that public faith in American election infrastructure is “more important than ever before.” “Ensuring that Americans can trust that election systems and infrastructure are secure is necessary to protecting confidence in our electoral process and democratic government,” writes Widen, an Oregon Democrat. Read More

Illinois: Massive Chicago Voter Breach Underscores Importance of Cloud Security | eSecurity Planet

In a vivid reminder of the need to secure data in the cloud, researchers at UpGuard recently came across more than 1.8 million Chicago voters’ personal information exposed online in a misconfigured Amazon S3 bucket belonging to voting machine company Election Systems & Software (ES&S). The publicly downloadable data, which was discovered on August 11 by UpGuard director of strategy Jon Hendren, included voters’ names, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. The data was put together by ES&S for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners prior to the 2016 election. Since Chicago only had 1.5 million active voters in November 2016, the data appears to cover all of Chicago’s voters, both active and inactive. This is part of a larger trend — other recent breaches linked to misconfigured Amazon servers have exposed 14 million Verizon customers’ data, more than 3 million WWE fan’s personal information, 4 million Dow Jones customers’ personal data, over 60,000 sensitive Pentagon files, and approximately 48,000 Indian citizens’ personal data. Read More

Illinois: Election Systems & Software Exposes Backup of Chicago Voter Roll via AWS Bucket | Threatpost

Voter registration data belonging to the entirety of Chicago’s electoral roll—1.8 million records—was found a week ago in an Amazon Web Services bucket configured for public access. The data was a backup stored in AWS by Election Systems & Software (ES&S), a voting machine and election management systems vendor based in Omaha, Nebraska. Researchers from UpGuard made the discovery last Saturday and privately reported the leak to a government regulator who connected them to the Chicago FBI field office. The FBI then notified ES&S, which immediately pulled down the data from Amazon. Amazon buckets are configured to be private by default and require some kind of authentication to access what’s stored in them. For some reason, ES&S misconfigured its bucket to public months ago, opening the possibility that others had accessed the data before UpGuard. Read More

Illinois: 1.8 million Chicago voter records exposed online | CNN

A voting machine company exposed 1.8 million Chicago voter records after misconfiguring a security setting on the server that stored them. Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the Nebraska-based voting software and election management company, confirmed the leak on Thursday. In a blog post, the company said the voter data leak contained names, addresses, birthdates, partial social security numbers and some driver’s license and state ID numbers stored in backup files on a server. Authorities alerted ES&S to the leak on Aug. 12, and the data was secured. A security researcher from UpGuard discovered the breach. The data did not contain any voting information, like the results of how someone voted. Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections, said the leak did not contain or affect anyone’s voting ballots, which are handled by a different vendor. “We deeply regret this,” Allen said. “It was a violation of our information security protocol by the vendor.” Read More

Illinois: Info on 1.8M Chicago voters was publicly accessible, now removed from cloud service: election officials | Chicago Tribune

A file containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and other information about Chicago’s 1.8 million registered voters was published online and publicly accessible for an unknown period of time, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said Thursday. The acknowledgment came days after a data security researcher alerted officials to the existence of the unsecured files. The researcher found the files while conducting a search of items uploaded to Amazon Web Services, a cloud system that allows users to rent storage space and share files with certain people or the general public. The files had been uploaded by Election Systems & Software, a contractor that helps maintain Chicago’s electronic poll books. Read More

Illinois: Information about 1.8 million Chicago voters exposed on Amazon server | USA Today

Names, addresses, dates of birth and other information about Chicago’s 1.8 million registered voters was left exposed and publicly available online on an Amazon cloud-computing server for an unknown period of time, the Chicago Board of Election Commissions said. The database file was discovered on Friday by a security researcher at Upguard, a company that evaluates cyber risk. The company alerted election officials in Chicago on Saturday and the file was taken down three hours later. The exposure was first made public on Thursday. The database was not overseen by the Chicago Board of Election but instead Election Systems & Software, an Omaha, Neb.-based contractor that provides election equipment and software. Read More

Illinois: Don’t panic, Chicago, but an AWS S3 config blunder exposed 1.8 million voter records | Associated Press

A voting machine supplier for dozens of US states left records on 1.8 million Americans in public view for anyone to download – after misconfiguring its AWS-hosted storage. ES&S says it was notified by UpGuard researcher Chris Vickery of the vulnerable database that contained personal information it collected from recent elections in Chicago, Illinois. The records included voters’ names, addresses, dates of birth, and partial social security numbers. Some of the records also included drivers’ licenses and state ID numbers. “The backup files on the AWS server did not include any ballot information or vote totals and were not in any way connected to Chicago’s voting or tabulation systems,” ES&S said in a statement on Thursday. “These back-up files had no impact on any voters’ registration records and had no impact on the results of any election.” Read More

Illinois: Election Systems & Software Leaks 1.8 Million Chicago Voter Records | Gizmodo

A leading US supplier of voting machines confirmed on Thursday that it exposed the personal information of more than 1.8 million Illinois residents. State authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were alerted this week to a major data leak exposing the names, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers, and party affiliations of over a million Chicago residents. Some driver’s license and state ID numbers were also exposed. Jon Hendren, who works for the cyber resilience firm UpGuard, discovered the breach on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) device that was not secured by a password. The voter data was then downloaded by cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery who determined Election Systems & Software (ES&S) controlled the data. ES&S provides voting machines and services in at least 42 states. Read More

Indiana: Software glitch leaves 2,012 votes incomplete in Hancock County primary | Indiana Economic Digest – Indiana

Catastrophic. Marcia Moore summed up Tuesday’s election in one word. Sitting in the basement of the Hancock County Courthouse Annex on election night, the county clerk shook her head in disgust. Software glitches. Equipment failures. More than 2,000 ballots with errors. Sixteen local contests were left in limbo Tuesday night after election workers learned late in the day that a software error caused entire races to be left off voters’ ballots at five of the county’s 12 polling sites, Moore said. And there’s no way to identify or alert the 2,012 voters who didn’t have a say in those races — a fact Hancock County attorney Ray Richardson said will likely trigger a special election to start the process over. … The software error was one of a number of problems that plagued the local election, Moore said. Read More

US Virgin Islands: New Machines Will Reduce Errors, Save Money | St. Croix Source

A new machine that voters will use to cast their ballots in the territory’s next election will not only save the V.I. Board of Elections money on paper costs, but it will also reduce the chance of voting errors, said Willie Wesley Jr. of Omaha-based company Election Systems and Software. “It’s going to actually put the Virgin Islands on the cutting edge of technology,” Wesley said. “If there’s something out there more advanced than this, I want to see it.” Wesley, who has been working with Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes to overhaul the territory’s voting technology, gave a demonstration of the new machine at Tutu Park Mall on Thursday evening. The machine is called ExpressVote and is a touchscreen computer system that voters insert a blank ballot into before making selections. The ExpressVote then prints barcodes on the ballot that can be read by an electronic tabulator.

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Florida: Partnership paves way for new voting system | Apalachicola Times

Following weeks of intense negotiations, the Florida Department of State has agreed to release funds obtained under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to purchase a new state-of-the art voting tabulation system for a 12-county consortium that includes Franklin County. In an article published in late 2014, Secretary of State Ken Detzner expressed concerns with aging voting equipment being utilized in many Florida counties. His remarks mirrored conclusions found in a non-partisan presidential commission on the voting experience that was released last year. When emerging technology and “mileage” are factored, experts generally estimate the useful shelf life of tabulation hardware and software to be about 10 years. Franklin County is utilizing tabulation equipment that while has proven to be reliable to date, was purchased nearly 15 years ago. Read More

Arkansas: Secretary of state extends deadline, changes terms on voting machine bid | Arkansas Times

Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office has extended the deadline for companies to submit proposals to sell the state new voting machines and has also changed a part of the specifications. The state Board of Election Commissoners Wednesday approved some voting machines sold by Election Systems and Software and by Unisyn voting Solutions, with a deadline of Monday for other companies hoping to qualify to sell machines for 75 counties. It could be a $30 million deal. Vendors had complained that the specifications favored ES&S, which supplied the machines the state currently uses. This became more of an issue because Doug Matayo, a former Republican legislator who’d been Mark Martin’s chief of staff, runs a consulting firm recently hired by ES and S, though he’s said not to be working on this specific deal. Read More

Press Release: ES&S to Provide New Machines for York County’s November Election | Election Systems & Software

Election Systems & Software (ES&S), LLC, partnered with Printelect, Inc., is privileged to add another Virginia locality to our customer base. This November, citizens of York County will cast votes using our DS200 tabulator thanks to the York County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous decision Tuesday. More details are available in the abbreviated article below.

York County Supervisors Agree to Purchase New Voting Machines

This November, York County citizens will be using a new voting system to cast their votes in the general election. The York County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase new voting machines and software that will replace the county’s current aging voting software, called AccuVote, and its companion, the WINVote machine used by voters with disabilities. “We’ve known this was coming,” he said at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, explaining the current system was approaching 20 years old. Read More

National: Around The U.S., Voting Technology Is All Over The Place | NPR Berlin

Remember all that new voting equipment purchased after the 2000 presidential election, when those discredited punch card machines were tossed out? Now, the newer machines are starting to wear out. Election officials are trying to figure out what to do before there’s another big voting disaster and vendors have lined up to help. During their annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this week, state election officials previewed the latest voting equipment from one of the industry’s big vendors, Election Systems and Software. ES&S expects a huge surge in buying very soon. It hopes its new ExpressVote machine will appeal to those who want convenient voting as well as the security of a paper ballot that’s counted separately. “We’re seeing a buying cycle that’s starting now, and will probably go for the next maybe four or five years,” said Kathy Rogers, a senior vice president at ES&S who used to run elections for the state of Georgia. Rogers says companies have to be more flexible than they were 10 or so years ago. Both the technology and how people vote is changing rapidly. “Some are moving to all vote by mail; some are increasingly becoming early vote sites,” she said. “We have some that have moved as far away from direct record electronics as they possibly can, and then we have others who love that technology.” Read More

Nebraska: Judge must rule on ballot switch as deadline nears | Columbus Telegram

The clock is ticking on a legal battle over who will appear as Pete Ricketts’ No. 2 man on Nebraska ballots this fall. The federal deadline to have ballots sent to military and overseas voters is Friday, and the printers are already running for some counties. “My ballots have gone to print,” said Cass County Election Commissioner Nancy Josoff. She’s also emailed ballots to a couple traveling abroad. Most counties are in the final stages of proofing the many versions of ballots they distribute within their areas. Those proofs are then generally sent to Election Systems and Software, the Omaha company that produces ballots for 90 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. Meanwhile, attorneys are wrangling over whether state Auditor Mike Foley’s name should be allowed to replace that of former Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann on the ballot as running mate for Ricketts, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Ricketts named Foley as his pick for lieutenant governor after Heidemann resigned last week. Democrats and others have balked at Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale for allowing the switch despite a Sept. 1 deadline for a person to agree to appear on the ballot as a candidate for lieutenant governor. Gale is a Republican. Read More

Texas: Wichita County Commissioners Approve New Election Equipment | Texoma

Wichita County Commissioners are saying yes to the purchase of new election equipment, and for a high price. The commissioners voted to spend $1 million dollars on the equipment, which will include 210 new voting machines. This comes after county officials learned last month the new election equipment system would operate on more current Windows operating systems. While it comes at a high price, commissioners feel the county needs that equipment before election season. Wichita County has used it’s current election equipment, by the company Election Systems and Software for 10 years. This system operates on Windows XP and Microsoft no longer provides security updates for that operating system, which is why commissioners have decided the county needs a change. “The security could be compromised. It’s not as secure, there’s not security patches being put into it. And it’s on the internet, so we had had some vulnerability to it, and it didn’t work very well for us,” Judge Woody Gossom says.   Read More

Virginia: New voting machines to improve voting in Fairfax County | WTOP

Residents of Fairfax County will be able to use a new voting machines in this upcoming November election, the first such comprehensive equipment replacement in more than a decade. The Fairfax County Office of Elections purchased 1,125 voting machines from Election Systems and Software, which includes 525 paper ballot scanning machines and 600 paper ballot generating machines, with the initial price at approximately $6.4 million. The new equipment will provide and scan paper ballots for voters, and will also let voters know if their ballot is blank or they voted for more candidates than allowed in any race. Read More

Guam: $70,000 To Fix Two Tabulators; FY 2014 Budget Now Unknown | Pacific News Center

The Guam Election Commission (GEC) does not know how much it will be getting in the upcoming fiscal year. Executive Director Maria Pangelinan says in the first substitute budget bill, over $900,000 was budgeted for GEC. However, in the current version of the recently passed Bill 38, GEC was lumped into the Executive Branch’s budget. She notes their appropriation was lumped together before in previous budgets. However, no line item has identified what GEC would receive this time around. Pangelinan says this is a problem as they prepare for the 2014 gubernatorial election. She also explains the money to fix two of their tabulators is not factored in yet because they just received the notice today [Wednesday] about the overall costs. Read More

New York: ES&S says it can prevent disaster during city’s upcoming mayoral election — for a fee | NY Daily News

The company that made the city’s controversial new voting machines claims it has a solution to the city’s looming election crisis: Pay the company more money. The city Board of Elections has warned that the mayoral primary election this fall could turn disastrous if no candidate wins at least 40 percent of the vote. State law requires the city to hold a runoff election two weeks after the primary but the board says it needs more time to reset the new ballot scanners. The company that made the scanners, Elections Systems & Software, has now stepped up with an offer to save the day — and get a big check. It offered to send a team of its own consultants and technicians to help pull off the two-week turnaround. Read More