Days after President Trump suggests pausing election over security, US House passes $500m for states to shore up election security

Chances of it getting enacted in time for November – slim to almost nil

The US House of Representatives has passed a spending bill which includes a $500m election security provision.

A Friday vote went mostly along party lines as representatives decided by a 217-197 margin to pass the 2021 Spending Bill. The draft law will now go to the Senate.

The $1.3tr spending package [PDF] is likely to be significantly altered, and possibly delayed, by the Republican-controlled Senate, but the $500m security package is a step in the right direction, at least.

Specifically, the half-billion goes to the US Election Assistance Commission and will give states money that will be used to replace electronic voting machines with ones that provide a paper trail of results.

The bill declares that states will "replace voting systems which use direct-recording electronic voting machines with a voting system which uses an individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballot which is marked by the voter by hand or through the use of a non-tabulating ballot-marking device or system."

"This week, the President's reckless comments about our election process have highlighted the importance of ensuring that every state in our union has the resources they need to hold safe and secure elections this November and every election year," Rep Mike Quigley (D-IL) said on Friday.


With the US election coming up, when better to petition regulators for a controversial way to chill online speech?


"We must guarantee that every voter has access to the ballot box, and no one is forced to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their health."

Election security has become, unfortunately, a partisan argument over what should be a universally accepted idea that more should be done to make sure hackers cannot tamper with vote tallies.

Researchers have shown time and again how vulnerable many of the more widely used voting machines can be to tampering. While there have been no documented cases of elections being rigged by remote hackers, there have been more than a few instances where officials have expressed doubts about the ability of election staff to guard electronic systems.

The use of entirely digital voting machines has been a particular issue of contention. Security experts have said that such machines are particularly risky because they lack a paper trail that can be used to audit votes. Rather, it has been recommended that states opt for machines that also make use of paper ballots.

Matt Blaze, McDevitt Chair in Computer Science and Law at Georgetown University, is making election security the subject of his keynote address to the Black Hat security conference later this week, and the Department of Homeland Security's CISA is also giving a talk on the topic. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021