Comment

National Security and “Federal Control” of Elections

Previously, our CTO, John Sebes tried to unpack the regrettable misunderstanding that current attempts to strength U.S. elections nationwide are some form of Federal hijack of states’ responsibilities for elections.  And of course, he is not our corporate lawyer or anyone in Legal trying to sort this out.  But from a layperson’s view (at least to Constitutional law and all) this doesn’t seem overly complicated to John, and so here’s his view....

Comment

Comment

“The Federal government should not gain more control over state elections” — Exactly Right, and Missing the Point

While at DEFCON Voting Village this week, OSET Institute CTO John Sebes observed that there is clearly more energy, more concern, and a greater sense of patriotism about defense of democracy and securing our elections than he has yet to see.  And that has John thinking about how the federal government and states’ governments need to cooperate for the benefit of our democratic republic. John comments here, and in a follow-up post.

Comment

Comment

OSET Institute Returns to Annual Copenhagen Democracy Summit

For the second year in a row, Joy London, a member of the OSET Institute’s leadership team attended the Copenhagen Democracy Summit at the scenic Harborside Royal Danish Playhouse from June 27th-28th. London, the Institute’s Associate General Counsel & Director of International Development, returned to Denmark, where she continued to build the Institute’s network of global democracy advocates, including several members of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) — an organization, launched at last year’s Summit by the Alliance of Democracies (AoD). Here is her fascinating recount of the Conference…

Comment

Comment

Straight Talk About Election Security Plain Talk

On June 21st the House Administration Committee held a Markup Session for HR 2722 the SAFE Act. We monitor as much of these proceedings as we can. And this one in particular compelled our CTO John Sebes to not only produce a Paper clarifying or correcting several assertions made by a House Member during that proceeding, but also led to a 7-part “plain talk” series on election security posted on our TrustTheVote Project blog. In this post here, John explains why…

Comment

Comment

The Internet and Elections: Clarifying the Conversation

With the report of comments pouring into the U.S. EAC on the next generation of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, and all of the coverage of the issue about the role of the Internet, we feel compelled to try to simplify and straighten some things out. Even recent EAC Hearings have left the issue a bit unsettled and unclear. So, below I try to clarify where things stand as of now in hopes of clarifying the conversation about what is or isn’t.

Comment

Comment

Microsoft Wades into Election Integrity & Security with New Open Source Software Tools

The primary short-term significance of the Microsoft announcement about ElectionGuard (similar to the recent DARPA SSITH open source trusted hardware project) is validation of a major point about election cyber-security that just wasn’t part of the national conversation a couple years ago: Major technology innovation is required to increase the verifiability, accuracy, and security of elections technology and (at least) U.S. elections. That’s probably just as important as the prospect that ElectionGuard might be included in future proprietary voting system products, or in open-source election technology offerings from OSET Institute’s TrustTheVote Project or others….

Comment

Comment

New Cybersecurity Threats Require New Thinking on Testing and Certification

Ms. Voting Matters offers a summation of internal leadership discussion on the imperative topic of evolving election technology security; a longer article, but we think worth the read.

On an almost daily basis, there is mounting evidence that the scope of “election security” is wider than might appear at first blush. While much attention has been paid to “voting machines” and “voting systems” that capture and tabulate votes, there is growing awareness that other types of election-related software infrastructure are even more vulnerable by virtue of being network-connected: specifically, voter registration (VR) systems and Election Night Reporting (ENR) systems (which display results over the web, but which do not tabulate votes) have been found to be especially vulnerable. The question is how can cybersecurity testing and certification adapt?

Comment

Comment

Perspectives from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission Public Hearing in Memphis

On April 10, 2019, at the historic Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN, Eddie Perez, our Director of Technology Development, had the privilege of presenting public testimony on behalf of the OSET Institute at a Public Hearing of the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The topic was the latest version (still pending) of federal voting system standards: the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), Version 2.0. Here are Eddie Perez’s observations about themes that emerged from the Public Hearing:

Comment

Comment

A Major Breakthrough Development in the Innovation of Election Technology

On Thursday March 14th it was announced that the Defense Department Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) System Security Integration Through Hardware and Firmware (SSITH) Program has selected Galois, a premier computer science company and a security engineering partner of the OSET Institute, to develop a public prototype voting system in order to demonstrate the Program’s advancements in hardware and system security. This is an enormously pivotal piece of news in the mission to innovate election technology infrastructure to be Verifiable, Accurate, Secure, and Transparent (the “VAST mandate'“)…

Comment

Comment

Examining the Georgia State Voting System Cost Projection

The OSET Institute closely follows all developments in election technology infrastructure, because it’s essential to the defense of democracy.  Lately, one topic that has garnered more public attention is the process by which state and local jurisdictions assess, select, and procure voting technology. One in particular, Georgia, has garnered much attention, and rightly so. There are some very unusual cost justifications underway; and the math is not adding up. Not. Even. Close. The OSET Institute took a measured examination of what the costing should really look like. Something is not right in Georgia.

Comment

5 Comments

A 116th Opportunity: New Congress to Offer Ambitious Election Reform Bill to Defend Democracy

We’ve said it many times and it bears worth repeating: foreign interference in U.S. elections is a threat to our democracy.  The security of critical election infrastructure is the focal point of the OSET Institute’s mission.  So, OSET leadership was pleased to learn that on January 3, 2019, the opening day of the 116th session of Congress, the newly elected House Democratic majority, led by Speaker-designate Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), will have its first order of legislative business—House Resolution #1 (“H.R.1”), a comprehensive election reform bill.  The question is will H.R.1 become law, and be the change-agent needed to better defend democracy?

5 Comments

Comment

The Wild World of Election Innovation: a Brief Asian Perspective

We’re tracking election administration (process and platform) developments, innovations, and news around the world because critical election technology infrastructure has a central role in defending democracy. We’ve collected a group of stories and offer a summary of what’s happening in Asia, where — for better or worse — the Blockchain is becoming all the rage for voting. We’re convinced this is a bad idea on its own, but where blockchain technology is applied for other election administration purposes, there is great promise for improving integrity...

Comment

Comment

Will Foreign Adversaries Attack U.S. Midterm Elections or Elsewhere?

Most experts believe that Russia through the GRU, the intelligence arm of Russia's armed forces, will continue to interfere in U.S. elections on some level(s).  Others are raising concerns about China and even Iran. There are many prognostications, but before commenting on any one theory, let’s review the multiple paths a malicious actor could use to compromise the 2018 American Midterms and upcoming elections in Europe…..

Comment

1 Comment

Demonizing Vendors of Voting Systems

It’s been a tough week for the incumbent commercial voting system vendors, with the leading vendor caught in some embarrassing admissions of using vulnerable antique remote-access software in their voting system product, after having previously denied exactly that. But before we hammer them too harshly, there are some reality checks to consider, suggests our CTO…

1 Comment