Edward Perez, Global Director of Technology Development
Gregory Miller, COO & Principal Election Technology Analyst
With the start of primary season for the Presidential Election right around the corner, in February 2020, the security of U.S. election infrastructure remains a topic of national concern. The current state of U.S. voting systems has been scrutinized especially closely, and recent news reports have noted that the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report results. Given the fact that Microsoft will no longer provide free, regular updates to Windows 7 users after January 2020 (known as “end of support”), reports of outdated voting system software with potential vulnerabilities have garnered a lot of attention.
Many observers are asking the reasonable question, “Can’t we simply get everything updated before the 2020 elections?” The short answer, unfortunately, is “No” — due to a complex set of limitations associated with how voting system software is developed, certified, sold, implemented, and maintained. Until now, those complexities have not been explained in plain language for the benefit of citizens, voters, and other interested parties, and we hope to change that.
The purpose of this Briefing is to shed light on the process of how voting systems are purchased, deployed, and updated, with a special emphasis on the challenges that currently inhibit updates. We hope that by illuminating what all of this means for election administrators, vendors, and the nation as a whole, policy makers can better understand what needs to change to ensure the security of the nation’s election infrastructure in the future. This Briefing strives to do just that, led by our Global Director of Technology Development, Eddie Perez whose 15 years direct experience in all of this should be of value to readers.