Last updated on: 8/3/2017 | Author: ProCon.org

Historical Timeline

Electronic Voting Machines and Related Voting Technology

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1856-1899

1856 - Victoria, Australia First Place to Use Uniform Official Ballots

The Australian state of Victoria becomes the first place to use uniform official ballots. This style of paper ballot, later called the Australian Secret Ballot, is printed at the government's expense, lists the names of all candidates and issues in a fixed order, and is counted by hand.

Mary Bellis   "The History of Voting Machines," inventors.about.com, Nov. 13, 2000

1888 - Massachusetts Adopts Australian Secret Ballot

1893 Australian ballot from Iowa City
Source: Douglas W. Jones, "A Brief Illustrated History of Voting," www.uiowa.edu, 2003

Massachusetts becomes the first US state in the to adopt the Australian Secret Ballot system on a statewide basis. This voting system is still used in some areas of the country (approximately 4% of voters cast hand counted paper ballots in the 2012 US Presidential election).

Roy G. Saltman     "Independent Verification: Essential Action to Assure Integrity in the Voting Process," National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Report SB134106W0703, Aug. 22, 2006

Jan. 8, 1889 - Punch Card System Patented

Herman Hollerith patents a method of using punched cards to compile data for the US Census. Although this punchcard system (US Patent 395,782 ) was not used for voting, the technology laid the foundation for the punchcard voting systems developed in the 1960's.

Herman Hollerith, PhD   U.S. Patent 395,782, Jan. 8, 1889

Nov. 19, 1889 - Mechanical Lever Machine Patented

Jacob H. Myers of Rochester, New York patents the first mechanical lever voting machine (U.S. Patent 415,549 ). This technology, later called the Myers Automatic Booth, prevents overvotes, speeds up the vote counting process, and significantly reduces the chance of dishonest vote counting because the votes are counted by machine.

Jacob H. Myers   U.S. Patent 415,549, Nov. 19, 1889

1892 - Lever Machine First Used in Lockport, New York

"The Myers Automatic Booth lever voting machine was first used in 1892 in Lockport, New York... Lever machines were on the cutting edge of technology, with more moving parts than almost anything else being made. As such, they were as much of a high-tech solution to the problem of running an honest election as computer tabulated punched-cards in the 1960's or direct-recording electronic voting machines in the 1990's."

Douglas W. Jones, PhD     "A Brief Illustrated History of Voting," www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/voting, 2003

1900-1999

1930 - Lever Machines in almost Every Major US City

1899 mechanical lever voting maching
Source: Rady Ananda, "1936: Counting America's 40,000,000 Votes," www.opednews.com

"By 1930, lever machines had been installed in virtually every major city in the United States."

Mary Bellis   "The History of Voting Machines," inventors.about.com, Nov. 13, 2000

1962 - Optical Scan Ballots First Used in Kern City, California

"The first use of mark-sense [optical scan] ballots was in 1962, in Kern City, California, using a mark-sense system developed by the Norden Division of United Aircraft and the City of Los Angeles. Development of this 15,000 pound system began in 1958... and the system remained in use in Orange County for over a decade. The system also saw use in Oregon, Ohio, and North Carolina."

Douglas W. Jones, PhD     "A Brief Illustrated History of Voting," www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/voting, 2003

1964 - Georgia Counties First to Use Punch Cards and Computer Tally Machines

"Fulton and DeKalb Counties in Georgia were the first jurisdictions to use punch cards and computer tally machines when they adopted the system for the 1964 primary election. In the Nov. 1964 Presidential election, these two jurisdictions were joined by Lane County, Oregon, and San Joaquin and Monterey Counties in California, who also adopted the punchcard system."

Mary Bellis   "The History of Voting Machines," inventors.about.com, Nov. 13, 2000

Aug. 17, 1965 - Votomatic Punch Card Voting System Patented

Votomatic advertisement
Source: Verified Voting, "Votomatic Advertisement," www.verifiedvoting.org, Oct. 1, 2012

Joseph P. Harris, with the help of William Rouverol, patents the Votomatic punch card voting system (U.S. Patent 3,201,038 ). In this system a voter marks their choice by punching a hole in a prescored card marked with numbers which correspond to candidates and ballot issues listed in a separate booklet. The votes are then tabulated by a computerized counting machine. The Votomatic was an improvement upon the punch card system used the year before and eventually becomes the most commonly used type of punch card voting system.

Joseph P. Harris, PhD   U.S. Patent 3,201,038, Aug. 17, 1965

Feb. 19, 1974 - Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machine Patented

McKay, Ziebold, and Kirby et al. developed a concept for an electronic voting machine, known as the Video Voter, for which a patent was issued on Feb. 19, 1974 (US Patent 3,793,505 ). This patent was the basis for a commercial design of the Video Voter system that was subsequently patented by McKay, Smith & Deutsch (US Patent 4,025,757 ). The system, comprised of Video Voter terminals that were controlled by a Video Voter Data Center, was probably the first direct-recording electronic voting system to be used in real elections.

Richard H. McKay   US Patent 3,793,505, Feb. 19, 1974

Herb Deutsch, MA     Email to ProCon.org, Aug. 8, 2014

1975 - Streamwood and Woodstock, Illinois Use Video Voter System

"The Video Voter was first used in real elections in 1975, in Streamwood and Woodstock Illinois. Following these demonstrations, several Illinois counties purchased the system and used it between 1976 and 1980, approximately."

Douglas W. Jones, PhD     "A Brief Illustrated History of Voting," www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/voting, 2003

Mar. 1975 - First US Government Report to Evaluate Computerized Voting Technology

Roy Saltman prepares the first U.S. government report to evaluate computerized voting technology. "Effective Use of Computing Technology in Vote-Tallying" investigates voting system security, design, and functionality, as well as the ability to conduct audits of election processes and ballot recounts. This paper initiates the federal Voting Systems Standards program.

Roy G. Saltman     "Effective Use of Computing Technology in Vote-Tallying," National Bureau of Standards (NBS) Special Publication 500-30, Mar. 1975

May 3, 1977 - Precinct-Based Optical Scan System Patented

The ES&S 150 Central Count Scanner is an example of a precinct-based optical scan system
Source: Douglas W. Jones, "A Brief Illustrated History of Voting," www.uiowa.edu, 2003

James O. Narey, with the help of William Saylor, patents (U.S. Patent 4,021,780 ) the first model of the modern precinct-based optical scan systems in use today.

James O. Narey   U.S. Patent 4,021,780, May 3, 1977

1982 - Nebraska First to Officially Use American Information Systems (AIS) Central-Count Ballot Tabulator

"In 1982, the AIS [American Information Systems] model 315 central-count ballot tabulator saw its first official use in several Nebraska counties. In 1997, AIS was reorganized as Election Systems and Software [ES&S] after a merger with Business Records Corporation." The AIS model 315 became the first optical scan system to be widely used throughout the United States.

Douglas W. Jones, PhD     "A Brief Illustrated History of Voting," www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/voting, 2003

Feb. 3, 1987 - Shouptronic ELECTronic Voting Machine Patented

The R.F. Shoup Corporation and Chief Engineer Robert J. Boram patent the Shouptronic ELECTronic voting machine (U.S. Patent 4,641,240 ). This push-button machine was one of the first direct recording electronic voting machines to achieve significant commercial success.

1988 - Report Warns of Problems with Pre-Scored Punch Cards

Roy Saltman states in his report "Accuracy, Integrity, and Security in Computerized Vote-Tallying"  that "the use of pre-scored punch cards contributes to the inaccuracy and to the lack of confidence. It is generally not possible to exactly duplicate a count obtained on pre-scored punch cards, given the inherent physical characteristics of these ballots and variability in the ballot-punching performance of real voters. It is recommended that the use of pre-scored punch card ballots be ended." Despite his warning, use of punch card voting systems continues until widespread problems in the 2000 US presidential election prompt these systems to be banned by the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Roy G. Saltman     "Accuracy, Integrity, and Security in Computerized Vote-Tallying," NBS Special Publication 500-158, Aug. 1988

1990 - Federal Election Commission (FEC) Releases First Standards for Computer-Based Voting

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) releases the first set of standards for computer-based voting systems. The "Performance and Test Standards for Punchcard, Marksense [optical scan], and Direct Recording Electronic Voting Systems"  are commonly referred to as the Voting Systems Standards (VSS).

US Federal Election Commission   "History of the Voting Systems Standards Program," www.fec.gov, Nov. 1998

1996 - First Governmental Election Conducted over the Internet

"The first governmental election to be conducted over the Internet in the US was the 1996 Reform Party Presidential primary, in which Internet voting was offered, along with vote-by-mail and vote-by-phone, as an option to party members who did not attend the party convention."

Lorrie Faith Cranor, PhD     "In Search of the Perfect Voting Technology: No Easy Answers," in Secure Electronic Voting, D. Gritzalis, ed., 2003

1996 - Dr. Shamos Offers $10,000 "DRE Tampering Challenge"

Dr. Michael Shamos offers The DRE Tampering Challenge , in which he states "I do not believe it is feasible in practice to tamper undetectably with a well-designed direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machine. To demonstrate my conviction, I am willing to bet $10,000."

Michael I. Shamos, PhD, JD     "The DRE Tampering Challenge," euro.ecom.cmu.edu/people/faculty/mshamos/index.shtml, 2007

2000-2004

Nov. 7, 2000 - 2000 Presidential Election Highlights Ballot Problems

Florida Judge Robert Rosenberg, member of the Broward County Canvassing Board, studies a dimpled punch card ballot on Nov. 23, 2000
Source: Gary May, "How Conservatives Invented 'Voter Fraud' to Attack Civil Rights," www.salon.com, Apr. 14, 2013

Problems with punchcard voting systems, particularly in Florida, in the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore put voting technology in the national spotlight. Inaccurate registration lists, unclear ballot designs, high numbers of spoiled ballots, and questions about voter intent on cards where the chad, the small piece of paper punched out of punchcard ballots, was not fully punched out were among the problems. "Hanging chad," "dimpled chad," and "pregnant chad" are phrases that enter everyday conversation.

CNN "How We Got Here: A Timeline of the Florida Recount," www.cnn.com, Dec. 11, 2000

After the presidential plection in "Nov. 2000... many Americans first recognized that their electoral system had serious problems with flawed voter registration lists, obsolete voting machines, poorly designed ballots, and inadequate procedures for interpreting disputed votes."

Commission on Federal Election Reform (Carter-Baker Commission)   Building Confidence in U.S. Elections, Sep. 2005

2001 - Voting Technology Project Publishes Voting: What Is and What Could Be

Faculty from the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology create the Voting Technology Project in the wake of the 2000 election to provide "strong academic guidance in this intersection of technology with democracy." They offer several recommendations to improve election administration for the future in their July, 2001 report Voting: What Is and What Could Be.

Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project   Voting: What Is and What Could Be, July 2001

May 2002 - FEC Updates Electronic Voting Systems Standards

The FEC releases an updated version of the standards for electronic voting systems. The Voting Systems Standards expand on the first set of standards by focusing on the voting medium instead of specific kinds of voting systems and addressing accessibility, usability, telecommunications, and audit trails.

Congressional Research Service   "Federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines: Summary and Analysis of Issues," CRS Report RL33146, Nov. 9, 2005

Oct. 29, 2002 - George W. Bush Signs the Help America Vote Act

President George W. Bush signs HR 3295, Help America Vote Act of 2002 into law
Source: The White House, "President Signs Historic Election Reform Legislation into Law," www.whitehouse.gov, Oct. 2002

President George W. Bush signs the first law to specifically address voting technology. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) is "an act to establish a program to provide funds to States to replace punch card voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist in the administration of Federal elections and to otherwise provide assistance with the administration of certain Federal election laws and programs, to establish minimum election administration standards for States and units of local government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections, and for other purposes."

Help America Vote Act   Oct. 29, 2002

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 is signed into law in an effort to improve voting systems across the country. The law mandates that all polling places have at least one handicap-accessible voting device, guarantees that any voter not appearing on a registration list has the right to cast a provisional vote, assures that all voters have the opportunity to review their selections before casting a ballot, establishes the Election Assistance Commission, and authorizes $3.9 billion in federal funds for replacing lever machines and punchcard voting systems with either DREs or optical scan systems with accessible ballot marking devices.

Online NewsHour    "Help America Vote Act," www.pbs.org/newshour, Dec. 15, 2003

2002 - US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Is Established

Following passage of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is established. The EAC is tasked with providing support and technical guidance on the administration of federal elections, disbursing the funds allocated under HAVA, developing a new set of standards, implementing a new program for testing and certifying voting machines, and serving as a clearinghouse of election information.

US Election Assistance Commission (EAC)   "About The EAC," www.eac.gov, Oct. 2002

2002 - Georgia First to Use Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machines Statewide

Georgia becomes the first state to implement the use of direct recording electronic voting machines on a statewide basis, deploying the DREs at the same time in every county and paying for the implementation with state funds instead of county funds.

Cathy Cox, JD     "Georgia's Unique Model for Election Reform," www.sos.state.ga.us, Nov. 1, 2002

July 23, 2003 - First Independent Security Analysis Raises Concerns about DREs

Computer security experts Avi Rubin and Dan Wallach, along with graduate students Tadayoshi Kohno and Adam Stubblefield, evaluate the security of a particular model of electronic voting machine based on source code they found on the Internet. Their analysis reveals several vulnerabilities that lead them to conclude these systems should not be used for federal elections. This critique is the first independent security analysis to raise concern about DREs and inspires many computer scientists to join the debate over the use of electronic voting machines.

Avi Rubin and Dan Wallach "Analysis of an Electronic Voting System," Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute Technical Report TR-2003-19, July 23, 2003

Aug. 14, 2003 - Democrats Raise Questions of Propriety over Diebold Chief Executive's Ties to George W. Bush

"The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is 'committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.' The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold, Inc - who has become active in the re-election effort of President Bush - prompted Democrats this week to question the propriety of allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election."

Cleveland Plain Dealer    "Voting Machine Controversy," Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 23, 2003

Dec. 9, 2003 - Election Systems Companies Form Information Technology Association of America (ITAA)

"The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) today announced a group of leading election systems companies will align with ITAA to form the Election Technology Council (ETC). ETC members will work together to raise the profile of electronic voting, identify and address security concerns with electronic voting, develop a code of ethics for companies in the electronic voting sector, and make recommendations in the areas of election system standards and certification."

Election Technology Council   "Election Technology Council Press Release," www.electiontech.org, Dec. 9, 2003

Apr. 30, 2004 - California Secretary of State Decertifies All Touchscreen Electronic Voting Machines

California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley at a 2004 Rock the Vote event
Source: Spokeo, "California Secretary of State Keven Shelley," www.spokeo.com, 2004

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley decertifies all touchscreen electronic voting machines in the state of California and bans their use in four counties that had been using them until significant improvements are made to the security of the systems.

Kevin Shelley, JD     "California Secretary of State News Release," www.ss.ca.gov, Apr. 30, 2004

May 5, 2004 - US Election Assistance Commission Holds First Public Meeting

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission conducts their first public meeting, inviting testimony from a diversity of experts including election officials, computer scientists, disability advocates, and voting machine manufacturers.

US Election Assistance Commission (EAC)   "Election Assistance Commission Media Advisory," www.eac.gov, Apr. 27, 2004

July 16, 2004 - Nevada Mandates Voter-Verified Paper Audit (VVPA)

Nevada becomes the first state to mandate that all electronic voting machines used for federal elections be equipped with printers that produce a voter-verified paper audit trail.

Dean A. Heller     "Certification of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail Printer Completed," www.sos.state.nv.us, July 16, 2004

Nov. 2004 - North Carolina Electronic Voting Machines Lose 4,438 Votes in General Election

During the Nov. 2004 General Election in Carteret County, North Carolina electronic voting machines lost 4,438 votes. The manufacturer, Unilect, claimed the machines could store up to 10,500 votes but they actually only held 3,005 votes. Officials were unaware of the problem because the machines kept accepting votes after their memory was full, despite not being able to store them, and those votes were irretrievably lost.

Ellen Theisen, MA     "Myth Breakers: Facts About Electronic Elections," www.votersunite.org, 2005

2005-2008

Sep. 2005 - Commission on Federal Election Reform Releases Report with Recommendations

The Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by President Jimmy Carter and former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, releases a report. Building Confidence in U.S. Elections makes several recommendations for improving confidence in elections and modernizing election administration, including a recommendation that all DREs include voter-verified paper audit trails.

Commission on Federal Election Reform (Carter-Baker Commission)   Building Confidence in U.S. Elections, Sep. 2005

Dec. 2005 - Black Box Voting Demonstrates Hackbility of Electronic Voting Systems

Black Box Voting, Inc. sets up a demonstration in Leon County, Florida in which computer security experts Harri Hursti and Herbert Thompson are able to hack into the central vote tabulator of an electronic voting system and change the outcome of a mock election without leaving any trace of their actions. This exercise is considered to demonstrate that the software running electronic voting systems is vulnerable to tampering.

Herbert H. Thompson, PhD   "Expert Calls for Increased E-Voting Security," interview with ComputerWorld Magazine, www.computerworld.com, Jan. 19, 2006

Dec. 13, 2005 - Election Assistance Committee Adopts Voluntary Voting System Guidelines

The EAC unanimously adopts the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines . These new standards significantly increase security requirements for voting systems and expand accessibility for disabled individuals, including opportunities to vote privately and independently. The Guidelines took effect in Dec. 2007, at which time all previous standards become obsolete.

US Election Assistance Commission (EAC)   "Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines Introduction," www.eac.gov, Dec. 13, 2005

Jan. 1, 2006 - HAVA Implements Overvote and Accessability Requirements

"Beginning in 2006, HAVA requires that voting systems notify voters of overvotes and permit them to review their ballots and correct errors before casting their votes.... Also beginning in 2006, [HAVA requires] that each polling place used in a federal election have at least one voting machine that is fully accessible for persons with disabilities."

Congressional Research Service   "Election Reform and Electronic Voting Systems (DREs): Analysis of Security Issues," CRS Report RL32139, Jan. 1, 2003

May 11, 2006 - Black Box Voting Demonstrates Electrionic Voting Machines' "Backdoors"

Black Box Voting, Inc. and computer security specialist Harri Hursti perform a security test on an electronic voting machine delivered to Emery County, Utah. Hursti shows that the machine contains backdoors that allow the software to be modified in several ways, including a type of attack in which the cheating software can be installed months or years before it is executed.

Black Box Voting, Inc.   "Security Alert: Critical Security Issues with Diebold TSx," www.blackboxvoting.org

Harri Hursti     "Security Alert: Critical Security Issues with Diebold TSx," May 11, 2006

Sep. 13, 2006 - Computer Security Expert Installs Malware on Diebold Electronic Voting Machine in Less than a Minute

Computer security expert Dr. Edward Felten, with the help of graduate students Ariel Feldman and J. Alex Halderman, demonstrates that with less than a minute of physical access to a Diebold electronic voting machine or its PCMCIA memory card, an attacker could install malware that could steal votes while modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates and could also introduce a voting machine virus that spreads from machine to machine.

Edward W. Felten, PhD     "Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine," Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University,

Sep. 21, 2006 - Maryland's Governor Urges Voters to Use Absentee Ballots over Electronic Voting Machines

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Governor of Maryland, 2003-2007
Source: Maryland.gov, "Former Governors: Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.," www.maryland.gov, Feb. 19, 2013

Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R) publicly urges voters to vote by absentee paper ballot instead of using the state's electronic voting machines in the Nov. 2006 General Election after problems with the machines emerged during Maryland's primary. His announcement represents a complete change of opinion about DREs because Maryland had previously been one of the first states to implement electronic voting machines on a statewide basis while Ehrlich was governor in 2002.

Christian Davenport   "Democrats Blast Ehrlich's Absentee-Voting Initiative," Washington Post, Sep. 21, 2006

Nov. 7, 2006 - HAVA Funds and Changes Increased Use of DREs

Because of funding made available and changes mandated by the Help America Vote Act, use of DREs in the General Election is the highest in U.S. history. According to Election Data Services, "voting system changes this year were dominated by smaller jurisdictions,where resources to help the conversion are more limited... Thirty-six percent (36%) of the counties, with 38.4% of the registered voters, will be using direct recording electronic (DRE) equipment."

Election Data Services, Inc.   "Almost 55 Million, or One-Third of the Nation's Voters, Will Face New Voting Equipment in 2006 Election," www.electiondataservices.com, Nov. 7, 2006

Jan. 4, 2007 - EAC Denies CIBER, Inc. Accreditation

The New York Times reports that CIBER Inc., the nation's largest tester of electronic voting machine software, was denied accreditation by the EAC in July 2006. Because CIBER had tested many of the electronic voting systems used in the Nov. 2006 election and its failure to receive accreditation was not disclosed until Jan. 2007, many election officials unknowingly employed DREs that had not been tested by an accredited lab.

Christopher Drew   "U.S. Bars Lab From Testing Electronic Voting," New York Times, Jan. 4, 2007

Dec. 14, 2007 - EVEREST Report Finds DREs Do Not Meet Computer Industry Security Standards

The EVEREST Report of Findings commissioned by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer L. Brunner finds that all of "the computer-based voting systems in use in Ohio do not meet computer industry security standards and are susceptible to breaches of security that may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process."       

EverestReport       www.sos.state.oh.us, Dec. 14, 2007

Jan. 2008 - Florida Fair Elections Center Reports over 100,000 Florida Votes Not Counted in Nov. 2006

The Florida Fair Elections Center report "Sarasota’s Vanished Votes: An Investigation into the Cause of Uncounted Votes in the 2006 Congressional District 13 Race in Sarasota County, Florida” states that "the iVotronic voting system failed to count over 100,000 votes in various races across the state of Florida in the November 2006 election.”       

Florida Fair Elections Center   "Sarasota’s Vanished Votes," www.floridafairelections.org, Jan. 2008

Nov. 4, 2008 - 2008 Presidential Election Runs Relatively Smoothly

Barack Obama and John McCain, 2008 presidential candidates
Source: Jane Sasseen, et al., "Election 2008: Obama, McCain, and and the Economy," www.businessweek.com, 2008

Despite widely-publicized concerns in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, election day went rather smoothly. There were reports of glitches with electronic voting machines in Florida, Ohio and Virginia. The lack of a close outcome in the presidential race limited the impact of the minor problems that arose.

BBC    "No Major Glitches on Election Day," Nov. 5, 2008

2009-present

June 5, 2009 - Sequoia Voting Systems Allows Access to Technical Information about DREs

In response to the controversial Washington, D.C. September primaries where Sequoia machines counted more ballots than there were votes, Sequoia Voting Systems agrees to turn over access to technical information on how the voting machines work and tabulate results. This agreement then allows the D.C. Council to turn over documents such as blueprints of the machines and the source code to computer and legal experts for examination.       

Tim Craig   "Firm to Give D.C. Information About Its Voting Devices," Washington Post, June 6, 2009

Sep. 3, 2009 - Diebold, Inc. Sells Election-Systems Business to Election Systems & Software, Inc. for $5 Million

Diebold Inc. sells its U.S. election-systems business to Election Systems & Software Inc. for $5 million, about one-fifth of what it paid 7 years earlier. Diebold, whose primary focus is making ATMs, entered the voting machine business in hopes of capitalizing on rising demand following the disputed 2000 presidential election. The sale drew the concern of lawmaker Charles Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, who asked the Department of Justice to review the deal. When approved, Election Systems and Software Inc. controlled over three-quarters of the voting machine market.

Veronica Dagher   "Diebold Exits US Voting-Machine Business," Wall Street Journal, Sep 3. 2009

Associated Press    "Justice Dept. Review of Vote-Machines Sale Sought," Sep. 14, 2009

Sep. 13, 2010 - Brennan Center Report Calls for Publicly Available National Database of Voting System Malfunctions

Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law issues a report calling for a publicly available national database containing information on voting system failures and vulnerabilities. The report finds that the same malfunctions occur frequently with the same machines in different jurisdictions. Election officials are often not aware of vulnerabilities because vendors are under no legal obligation to notify election officials of past system problems. The report's recommendations include vendor reporting requirements, a federal agency with powers to investigate voting system failures, and enforcement mechanisms that include civil penalties.

Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law   "Voting System Failures: A Database Solution," Sep. 13, 2010

2011 - Security Experts Hack Voting Machines by Remote Control

"Voting machines used by as many as a quarter of American voters heading to the polls in 2012 can be hacked with just $10.50 in parts and an 8th grade science education, according to computer science and security experts at the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. The experts say the newly developed hack could change voting results while leaving absolutely no trace of the manipulation behind...

The team’s video demonstrates how inserting the inexpensive electronic device into the voting machine can offer a 'bad guy' virtually complete control over the machine. A cheap remote control unit can enable access to the voting machine from up to half a mile away."

Brad Friedman   "Diebold Voting Machines Can Be Hacked By Remote Control," www.salon.com, Sep. 27, 2011

Nov. 6, 2012 - Long Lines Due to Voting Machine Malfunctions in 2012 Presidential Election

The elections were rife with long lines and some glitches with voting machines. A YouTube video showing a Pennsylvania voting e-voting touch screen machine "flipping" a vote from Obama to Romney went viral. Machine breakdowns in Virginia caused three to five hour long lines that prompted some polling places to remain open late. South Carolina reported too few machines as well as broken machines. Malfunctioning machines were reported in Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Colorado.

Associated Press    "Voting-machine Glitches: How Bad Was It on Election Day around the Country?," www.csmonitor.com, Nov. 7, 2012

 

2013 - New York City Returns to Lever Machines for Primary Election and Runoffs

The New York Board of Elections is bringing lever machines out of storage for the 2013 city elections.
Source: Thomas Kaplan, "Elections Board Rings in the Old, as Lever Machines Replace Scanners," www.nytimes.com, Sep. 8, 2013

Approximately 5,100 lever voting machines that weigh over 800 pounds and have more than 20,000 parts each, have been brought out of storage for the New York City primary election and runoffs and made ready for the general election in November. The lever machines are being used because the $95 million electronic system caused chaos in the 2012 election including a 72 day long recount involving litigation for the special election for State Senate in Brooklyn.

New York Times    Thomas Kaplan, "Elections Board Rings in the Old, as Lever Machines Replace Scanners," www.nytimes.com, Sep. 8, 2013

July 29, 2017 - First-Ever Voting Machine "Hackathon" Reveals Many Vulnerabilities in Electronic Voting Machines and Poll Systems

"E-voting machines and voter registration systems used widely in the United States and other countries’ elections can readily be hacked—in some cases with less than two hours’ work. This conclusion emerged from a three-day-long hackathon at the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas… Def Con, an annual computer hacking conference celebrating its 25th year, hosted its first Voting Machine Hacking Village this year. In it, conference attendees were given access to many of the most popular voting machines and voter registration tracking systems in use around the world today. And before the Hacking Village organizers were even finished with their opening morning introductory remarks, a Danish hacker in the audience had already broken into one of the target machines wirelessly. Soon after on the same morning, a second group in the room wirelessly hacked into a popular electronic poll book system, responsible for storing and maintaining voter registration information. In total, the inaugural e-voting hackathon turned up at least 18 new vulnerabilities to e-voting and e-poll book systems."

IEEE Spectrum    by Mark Anderson, "DEFCON Hackers Found Many Holes in Voting Machines and Poll Systems," spectrum.ieee.org, Aug. 3, 2017

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