Critical Infrastructure Security, Critical Infrastructure Security, Network Security

State of security: Pennsylvania

Who’s In Charge: Secretary of State Robert Torres, Commissioner of Elections Jonathan Marks

Pennsylvania intends to eliminate all electronic voting machines that fail to produce voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPATs) by the year 2020.

While that’s an important step, it won’t do much good in the 2018 midterm elections, during which time 50 out of the Keystone State’s 67 counties will use exclusively DRE machines without VVPATs, while another four will use a combination of paper-based ballots and DREs without VVPATs.

Altogether, about 83 percent of Pennsylvanian voters will use DRE-based voting technology, which includes the Hart InterCivic’s eSlate dial-based solution; the Sequoia AVC Advantage and Danaher Shouptronic 1242 push-button machines; and the Premier/Diebold AccuVote TSX, Sequoia AVC Edge, and ES&S iVotronic touchscreen devices.

Absentee ballots, at least, are filled out on paper and mailed back or delivered in person, instead of send electronically.

Known to be a swing state whose electoral votes can help sway presidential elections, Pennsylvania is one of 21 states that the DHS confirmed was targeted by Russian hackers during the run-up to the 2016 election. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has allocated about $13.5 million to Pennsylvania to use toward election security.

Pennsylvania received a “D” score from the Center for American Progress for its current election security practices, in large part because of its reliance on DREs, but also because its audits can sometimes be conducted electronically as well (although only when the original vote was not entered electronically).

On the plus side, Pennsylvania reportedly does use access control, logging and intrusion detection for its voter database operations, and it also conducts vulnerability assessments and training exercises.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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