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American Voting Machines Are Old and Vulnerable, But Who Will Pay for New Ones?

The main threat to American voting machines may not be hacking, but old age.

Congress has approved $380 million to fund state efforts to address the security of election systems ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. What’s that all about?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you know there’s evidence that Russia tried to manipulate the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. How they did it and the degree to which those attempts were successful is the subject of intense scrutiny. But the focus on foreign meddling has obscured another type of threat. American electronic voting machines, many of which haven’t been replaced in over a decade, are being used well past their expected lifespan and are breaking down, leading to long lines and frustrated voters.

In her story on American election security, ProPublica’s Kate Rabinowitz revealed that many state and local election officials are suffering a funding crisis. Without the money needed to maintain and update electronic voting machines, officials are having to make do with equipment that was manufactured in 2008 or even earlier. By isolating machines from the internet and keeping them in secure locations, officials are able to reduce the threat of widespread hacking, but the machines are plagued with more mundane technical problems that states have been slow to address and could have major consequences for future elections.

Watch the video to learn what those problems are and how we got here.

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Kate Rabinowitz

Kate Rabinowitz is a data fellow at ProPublica.

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