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Virginia to Discontinue Touch-Screen Voting System Due to Cyber Risks

Virginia has decided to end use of touch-screen voting machines due to potential security risks, Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Friday.

The Friday decision by the state’s board of elections stemmed from the Virginia Department of Elections’ order to assess the security of such touch screens following the Defcon cyber conference held in July in Las Vegas where hackers demonstrated their capability to compromise voting machines.

The department issued a memo saying the Virginia Information Technologies Agency analyzed WinVote voting tools and found that each system “exhibited material risks to the integrity or availability of the election process.”

The decision comes as Virginia prepares for the gubernatorial election on Nov. 7.

Edgardo Cortes, Virginia’s elections commissioner, said 10 out of 22 localities have started to purchase optical-scan systems that work to read marked paper ballots and that the transition to such systems is “doable.”

“The risk of keeping the old equipment in place is much greater than implementing a new system,” Cortes said.

The state of Virginia is scheduled to phase out all touch-screen voting systems by 2020, the report added.

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