Touchscreen voting machines banned due to hacking concerns

Posted at 7:07 PM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 20:26:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Board of Elections has voted to ban the use of touchscreen voting machines ahead of November’s elections.

The decision came Friday afternoon after an emergency board meeting to address hacking concerns associated with the machines.

The board ultimately decided to decertify touchscreen machines in the Commonwealth effective immediately. This means the machines can no longer be used for Virginia elections.

“The security of the election process is always of paramount importance. The Department is continually vigilant on matters related to security of voting equipment used in Virginia,” said Edgardo Cortés, Virginia’s Commissioner of Elections. “The ability to meaningfully participate in our democracy is one of the most important rights that we have as citizens, and the Department of Elections is dedicated to maintaining voters’ confidence in the democratic process.”

Officials said that the decision was made to ensure the “integrity” of Virginia’s elections.

The touchscreens, or Direct Record Electronic (DRE) are used in 22 localities across the state. Those localities are:

Bath, Buchanan, Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Culpeper, Cumberland, Emporia, Falls Church, Gloucester, Hopewell, Lee, Madison, Martinsville, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Rappahannock, Russell, Surry, Sussex, Tazewell, and Washington.

The Virginia Board of Elections said they contacted all the localities in early August about security concerns associated with touchscreen voting machines.

The department said seven of the 22 localities have informed them that they have contracted to secure new equipment for November’s General Election.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.

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