Fewer Than Half of States Take These Two Election Security Precautions

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Heading into the 2020 elections, fewer than half of states will require both of two key steps that cybersecurity experts have endorsed as a means to secure elections. All but 8 states will utilize voting systems that create a paper trail of results, but only 24 states will also require post-election audits of those paper records to certify results.

In response to Russian interference in the 2016 elections, an increasing number of states have phased out paperless voting machines. In 2016, 14 states used paperless voting machines as the primary equipment in at least some counties; that number is down to 11 states, with three more – Georgia, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania – expected to replace paperless equipment by November 2020. The remaining 8 states are Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee, with a combined 16 million voters using paperless equipment.

Cybersecurity experts believe post-election audits could help detect tampering, and provide assurance that individuals votes were correctly tabulated. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia currently require post-election audits, with Georgia and Pennsylvania preparing auditable paper-based systems.

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