Politics

Old Voting Machines Threatening Midterm Results’ Reliability

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Vandana Rambaran Political Reporter

With the midterms just five months away, 14 states in America with the closest races for congressional seats will rely on outdated voting machines, according to a Thursday Reuters analysis.

Reuters analyzed six states and used data from Verified Voting Foundation, a non-partisan group concerned with verifiable elections, for the report. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Kansas and Kentucky are among the most vulnerable states in the country.

These states, and others across the nation, have voting machines that were manufactured in 2008 or earlier, and have no paper trail in the event of a miscount.

In March, Congress allocated $380 million to upgrade the security of election systems across the country before the 2018 midterm elections, but local and state officials say that isn’t nearly enough time or money to replace the machines. Jeff Greenburg, the director of elections in Mercer County, Penn., told the Huffington Post after President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill in March that it’s just “a drop in the bucket of what is really needed.”

Ballot security issues have been in flux since 2000 when suspicions of ballot tampering arose after Republican President George W. Bush beat Democratic candidate Al Gore in the presidential election. This caused many states to switch from paper ballots to electronic machines.

After the 2016 elections, another storm of scrutiny bombarded the voting security systems as then Republican candidate Donald Trump attributed his opponent Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote to voter fraud, a claim which has to this day remained unsubstantiated. (RELATED: Here’s What Voter Fraud Looks Like In 23 States)

“If people perceive somebody cheated, then it’s as if somebody cheated,” Washington State Secretary of State Kim Wyman told Reuters.

To supplement the lack of funding for machinery, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gives states weekly updates on potential cyber threats and sends computer experts to check the security of local systems in an effort to ensure safe voting conditions.

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