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Voting System Technology

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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?

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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:

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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'“)…

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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.

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Shifting the Conversation from “Shoring-up” to “Re-engineering”

This afternoon a bipartisan group of authorities on election administration and cybersecurity presented a Congressional Briefing on current election security challenges facing federal and state policymakers. While it was a worthy discussion, I keep having this sinking feeling that we’re simply re-arranging furniture on the deck of a large cruise ship steaming toward an icebreaker in the dark…

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Election Vulnerabilities: No Exploit Too Small; No Impact Too Large

The American public is currently in the midst of a rude awakening as increasing numbers of reports diagnose the state of American cybersecurity, especially as it pertains to elections. The nature of attacks isn’t limited to election administration equipment. Lots of havoc can be wreaked just attacking voter services web site…

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Recounting Cyberscoop's SF CyberTalks Election Security Panel

Our CTO John Sebes was a featured speaker at Cyberscoop’s recent San Francisco CyberTalks held last week in downtown San Francisco. A huge success, SF CyberTalks was a TED-like conference for the cyber-security leadership community that brought together top influential leaders from the cyber-security community, technology industry and the government. We recap the Election Security Panel discussion John participated on, including recaps of his comments and answers to the moderator’s questions.

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Critical Democracy Infrastructure: Our Briefing Launches

We are pleased to announce the release of the OSET Institute’s Critical Democracy Infrastructure (CDI) Briefing.  It’s been over a year in development.  Early review by several in Government, Media, and Advisors tell us this may be the most important publication on the issue of election infrastructure yet.  We humbly hope so. This Briefing provides a thorough review of the technology infrastructure of election administration and operation.  We address its critical nature and what is required for it to be treated as such, and assess the challenges of official designation, as well as the immediate and longer-term challenges to protecting this vital aspect of our democracy...

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Recapping Our 4 CAP Briefing Posts

You may wonder why we spent 4 blog posts reviewing and discussing the CAP Briefing.  Here’s briefly why. This Briefing is the kind of substantive consideration and conversation America (e.g., election officials, U.S. security officials, policy strategists, policy makers, and other stakeholders) needs to be having right now. Any set of recommendations deserves fair, intellectually honest, and open consideration and debate...

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Another Look at the CAP Briefing on Solving Election Security

We want to give credit to the great points the Center for American Progress recently made in their Briefing about election integrity. While we have some strategic differences, we generally endorse CAP’s tactical steps for improving election integrity in the near term.  The CAP Briefing was well researched and brought together many points that are widely agreed upon by the election integrity community including the OSET Institute.  Given Greg’s desire to limit the length of his response recently, and focus on the structural issue we’re so concerned about, we decided I would post a list here of the points we agree with and those we differ on...

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Reviewing the Brennan Center Study on Election Security—Part 2

Our commentary in the last segment on the Brennan Election Security Report might seem nit-picky, but the OSET Institute believes that in order to properly design a solution for a specific problem you need to be able to identify it precisely.  We’re going to make a bold assertion: Many of the solutions in the Brennan Report, while undoubtedly helpful, fail to do enough to increase the security of our elections. The recommendations fall short of properly addressing the problem as we described it in Part 1. These solutions are actually incremental steps that try to improve a system that needs to be fundamentally re-invented. ...

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Reviewing the Brennan Center Study on Election Security—Part 1

The Brennan Center for Justice recently released a fairly thorough, well done report on the security needs and vulnerabilities of the U.S. election system—a topic of considerable attention here at the Institute.  It’s a vital element of the current debate and discussion of democracy administration and national security.  This is the first of a three-part series examining the Brennan Report on election security.

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The Technical Challenges Facing iVoting

iVoting faces several technological challenges before it can begin to be implemented.  Most election officials and experts in the field are hesitant or skeptical about implementing iVoting with current Internet and Web technology.  Even when we view iVoting as simply returning a digital absentee ballot or the digital equivalent of voting by mail, as I explain in this installment of my series, there are still substantial innovations required....

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The Challenges of iVoting Implementation

When we last left this discussion, I had laid out a basis for our interest in technologies just over the horizon or "ready next" and in particular the growing interest in smartphone voting. I am essentially carving up a technology backgrounder white paper for easy reading here. Today I help us dive in with a survey of the challenge areas to "Pajama Voting" (I love that phrase)...

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Addressing the Impact of Voter Data Tampering

We are often asked to explain the impact of compromised voter data and we realized today that given some very relevant integrity engineering going on in the TrustTheVote Project its worth revisiting that for new citizens following our work, especially the growing #unhackthevote community.....

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A Call for the President to Act on Electoral Integrity Preparedness

Its not common for us to wade into policy issues of our U.S. President's Administration, but given how much we've witnessed regarding foreign meddling in the 2016 election cycle, we believe its well within our mission scope to comment today on this nation's preparedness regarding our election infrastructure in upcoming elections.....

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