[Image via EAC]
Today, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission will host a forum on election security focusing on the role of software updates in protecting the nation’s election systems. The EAC’s release has more:
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) will convene Secretaries of State, along with representatives from government and voting system manufacturers and testing laboratories, during an EAC Election Security Forum on Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET at its headquarters in Silver Spring.
The forum’s panelists will present on voting system and software vulnerabilities for voting systems, how to identify and address these challenges, and how software patching can impact these systems.
Security continues to be a critical topic as election officials prepare for the 2020 Federal Elections, particularly as some voting equipment across the country surpasses 10, or in some cases, 15 years of age.
In March 2018, $380 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Funds were made available to states to improve the administration of Federal Elections, the first HAVA appropriation since FY2010. States used the funds to great effect by improving election-related audits, increasing election security measures and upgrading voter registration systems, among other initiatives.
However, the 2018 HAVA Funds and required state match alone are not enough to replace all aging voting equipment. Therefore, discussions such as the EAC Election Security Forum are central to finding solutions for long-term system security sustainability.
This event comes partly in response to recent reports that many jurisdictions’ election technology is running on older software platforms like Windows 7 that will soon no longer be supported.
Here’s the lineup of speakers for the event:
Panel I: Secretaries of State
- Honorable Denise Merrill, Secretary of State, Connecticut
- Honorable Kyle Ardoin, Secretary of State, Louisiana
Panel II: State, Federal, and Technical Representatives
- Jerome Lovato, Director, Testing and Certification, U.S. Election Assistance Commission
- Jared Dearing, State Election Director, Kentucky
- Ginny Badanes, Director, Strategic Projects for Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program
- Matt Scholl, Chief, Computer Security Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology
- Geoffrey Hale, Director, Elections Division, The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security
Panel III: Industry Representatives
- Will Crumbley, Vice President of Engineering, Clear Ballot
- Chris Wlaschin, Vice President of Systems Security, ES&S
- Bernie Hirsch, Chief Information/Security/Quality Officer, Microvote
- Ed Smith, Director, Global Services, USA Smartmatic
- Jack Cobb, Laboratory Director, Pro V&V
- Jesse Peterson, Security Specialist, SLI Compliance
The EAC notes that space is very limited, but the event will be livestreamed at the agency’s website starting at 12:30pm Eastern today (Thursday, August 15).
Election security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days, but the role of mundane tasks like software patches can be overlooked. Today’s event should go a long way toward clarifying the issue and identifying what, if anything, the EAC and other entities across the nation can do to address the problem. Stay tuned …