National Testing Program for US Election Technology to Launch in 2023
As per information from the source, the nonprofit Center for Internet Safety will launch a national testing program for core technology for US elections later this year. The aim of this program is to strengthen the security of equipment that has been attacked by foreign governments and provided a platform for conspiracy theories. Until now, states have been responsible for assessing the technology that provides the backbone of election operations. The program hopes to provide the nation’s first uniform testing program for the technology, similar to one for voting machines.
Electronic Poll Books and their Increasing Use
One of the particular technologies that require immediate attention is electronic poll books. The use of electronic poll books has rapidly increased in recent years, with nearly a third of all voting jurisdictions in the US using them in 2020, according to data from the Federal Election Assistance Commission. However, electronic poll book systems present unique security challenges, as they either interact with, or have connections to, systems that do. In counties with a vote center model, these systems often communicate with each other and with the central voter registration system, which ensures voters cannot vote multiple times or vote in person after returning a mail-in ballot.
Uniform Certification Process for All States
The new testing program aims to provide a uniform certification process for all the different states that adopt it, according to Jamie Remes of VR Systems, a provider of electronic poll books, and election management systems. The South Carolina Election Commission, which has developed its voter registration system, was among the offices that participated in the center’s pilot test. Brian Leach, a commission member, sees this program as a way to increase voter confidence, especially amid a sustained campaign of former President Donald Trump and their allies, discrediting the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Increasing Security Posture of Companies
While the effect the new testing program will have on the 2024 presidential election has yet to be determined, Jared Dearing, the center’s senior director of election security and a former director of the Kentucky Board of Elections, believes the program is not just about product testing. Instead, it is about increasing the security posture of the companies that are creating these products. The program is funded solely by the center and will eventually be fully supported by fees paid by technology providers.
As the use of electronic systems has increased, they have become an attractive target for those seeking to meddle in US elections. Experts state that the systems could once again be prime targets for those seeking to disrupt voting and cast doubt on the security of elections. Gaining access to a voter registration database could allow someone to remove voters from the rolls or cast a provisional ballot. The testing program, therefore, aims to increase confidence in election technology and reduce the likelihood of meddling in crucial US elections.