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Sat Jan 25, 2020, 11:26 AM

VSAP: California OKs highly questioned LA County voting system

Source: Associated Press

California OKs highly questioned LA County voting system

By FRANK BAJAK
January 25, 2020

California’s secretary of state on Friday approved Los Angeles County’s new publicly owned computerized voting system — a first of its kind for the nation — but is requiring modifications to address serious security and technical problems identified in testing.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla is also requiring that all polling stations offer voters the option of using hand-marked paper ballots in the March 3 presidential primary in the nation’s most populous county.

His office also notes in a statement on its conditional certification that an estimated 63% of county voters will be voting by mail using hand-marked paper ballots during the primary.

Election security experts says all U.S. voters, unless hindered by disabilities, should use hand-marked paper ballots that are available for audits and recounts. Instead, only about 70% do, and elections in the U.S. are dominated by t hree voting equipment and services companies that control nearly 90 percent of the market. Their black-box touchscreen systems have been widely criticized by computer scientists as highly vulnerable to tampering.

A subsidiary of one of those companies, Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Nebraska, was blamed by an outside audit for sloppy system integration that left 118,000 names off printed voter roles in Los Angeles County during the 2018 primary.

The county had already decided by then to buck the national trend and ambitiously build its own system from the ground up — at a cost of up to $280 million — that would give voters the freedom to cast ballots at any available voting center. But many voting integrity activists have rejected the product, dubbed Voting System for All People (VSAP), in large part because it relies on computerized ballot-marking devices, and they worry it could be hacked. Many also objected to the choice of Smartmatic, a vendor founded by Venezuelans.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/7e8a976b9835a39786304118b0336c37

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