It’s Election Time – Finding the Right Election Equipment Vendor with E-Poll Books and More
Most Americans Concerned about Election Security
In a recent survey conducted by NPR, 41 percent of respondents indicated “they believed the U.S. is not very prepared or not prepared at all to keep November’s election safe and secure.”
Around the country, counties and districts are exploring ways to bring greater security to the election process. In one novel development, a district that includes Greater Seattle is positioned to become the first to allow voters cast ballots via smartphone.
Annual Hack-a-Thon Finds Voter Security Issues
Several years ago at the annual hacker’s conference known as DefCon, the personal information of more than 650,000 Tennessee voters was discovered on a decommissioned electronic poll book (e-poll book). Private information such as voter address, date of birth, driver’s license numbers and more were discovered and safely removed. Local election officials were subsequently notified.
To summarize the findings, the report, “DEFCON 25 Voting Machine Hacking Village, Report on Cyber Vulnerabilities in U.S. Election Equipment, Databases, and Infrastructure”, indicates that:
- “An e-poll book used to check in voters was improperly decommissioned with live voter file data still on the system; this data should have been securely removed from the device before reselling or recycling it.”
More recently, at the same conference in 2019, additional new vulnerabilities were discovered.
U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Findings
According to the most recent data from U.S. EAC:
- The use of e-poll books increased significantly from 2012 to 2016, increasing 110 percent, from nearly 20 million to more than 41.4 million voters.
- Nearly half (48 percent) of in-person voters in 2016 were signed in by election workers using e-poll books. This compares with only about one quarter (27 percent) using them in 2012.
- As of 2016, 32 states, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands were using e-poll books in at least one jurisdiction with 5 states—Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina—using them statewide.
- An additional 5 states used e-poll books in at least two thirds of their jurisdictions in 2016: Michigan (97.6%), Florida (83.3%), Iowa (74.4%), Arizona (73.3%) and New Mexico (69.7%).
- The use of e-poll books among jurisdictions increased 71.9 percent from 645 in 2012 to 1,109 in 2016.
- E-poll books are also popular among jurisdictions that process a higher number of in-person voters. Of the 336 jurisdictions that processed more than 50,000 in-person voters, more than half (56 percent) reported using e-poll books for voter sign in.
As of 2018, “36 states used e-poll books in at least one jurisdiction in the 2018 elections” and 26.2% of jurisdictions nationwide used them, according to the 2018 Election Administration and Voting Survey. This represents a 48% increase in e-poll book usage since the 2016 election.
With so many counties across the nation moving to e-poll books, issues with data management, voter privacy and security has risen to the forefront among the concerns of election officials. As a trusted election equipment vendor, we take precautions to ensure that the security of voter information is maintained.
Ensuring Information Security with E-Poll Books – The Rush Process
Rush Computer Rentals provides technology services that rent MacBook Pros and other technology products. As part of our services, once returned and in our possession, all e-poll book laptops are put through a comprehensive disc cleaning process to ensure they are properly sanitized, and that all personal voter information has been removed.
After bar-code scanning, returned laptops are wiped using GDISK, and then reimaged with a new operating system. After this process, each unit is tested to be sure that the cleaning was successful. Dedicated build servers are used to ensure a clean, virus-free environment. In fact, no computer is ever connected to any outside network or the internet prior to this dual-step wipe process.
Rush also offers optional wipe services equivalent to Department of Defense drive sanitation procedures, and upon request, clients can also retain the hard drive from any rented computer.
For more information regarding Rush’s capabilities for helping elections, please see the links below.