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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.

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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….

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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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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?

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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...

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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…..

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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…

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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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Recapping the Copenhagen Democracy Summit

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit was held a little over a week ago on June 22, launching a global alliance for democracy, while that very form of government is under siege in many nations.  This is the first of several reflections, recaps, and reporting on this inaugural event.  Our Director of International Development Joy London, and our Chief Operating Officer, Gregory Miller we’re both fortunate to have received invitations to attend and participate in an invitational group of 250 attendees. Mr. Miller was unable to attend due to logistical conflict, however, Ms. London did in fact attend, and this article utilizes portions of her reporting back….

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