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Monday, June 18, 2018, 6:35 a.m.

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State, counties working to upgrade election gear

By Michael R. Wickline

This article was published June 2, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

state-election-coordinator-josh-bridges-explains-how-the-new-voting-equipment-works-friday-at-the-state-capitol-chris-powell-a-spokesman-for-the-secretary-of-states-office-said-the-equipment-wont-be-connected-to-the-internet-and-cant-be-hacked

State election coordinator Josh Bridges explains how the new voting equipment works Friday at the state Capitol. Chris Powell, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said the equipment won’t be connected to the Internet and can’t be hacked.

A map showing new voting equipment.

The secretary of state's office believes that just over two-thirds of the state's counties will have new voting equipment by the time of the November general election.

A map showing new voting equipment.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 total comments

LR1955 says... June 2, 2018 at 10:02 a.m.

Is any state set up for online voting? I just can’t help but think there’s a way to do this with all the verification methods out there.

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RBBrittain says... June 2, 2018 at 11:37 a.m.

@LR1955: IIRC Arkansas already allows military & overseas ballots to be cast online due to the vagaries of APO/FPO and international mail. As for the rest of us, the level of security needed to allow voting machines to be connected to the Internet simply doesn't exist yet. In fact, even AFTER this push we will STILL have one county (Union) using pre-2006 voting machines with NO paper trail, as required for all newer machines by state law to protect against hacking (offline as well as online). I agree with Paul Greenberg's column the other day that BOTH Union AND Ouachita Counties (the remaining ones with pre-2006 machines) should be at the head of the line, but SOS Martin only put Ouachita there.
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I'm also disturbed that the pollbooks will have Internet access. It may be necessary, but though it's unclear if Comrade Putin hacked into any voting machines (IMO unlikely as very few of them are online), he DID hack into some states' registration databases.

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RBBrittain says... June 2, 2018 at 11:46 a.m.

Seems Lonoke County isn't getting new ones either. Perhaps Martin is waiting on a competent election commission to be seated there, instead of the incompetent one that conducted the May election -- stored voting machines improperly, can't handle USB drives properly, failed to provide Democratic ballots to a polling place with a contested Dem mayoral race. The commission blamed the county clerk; the Dems blamed Martin; I say it's the commission itself.

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mhck52 says... June 2, 2018 at 3:19 p.m.

And, not all of Saline County gets to use the computerized equipment it has now; only for special elections when the entire county isn't voting. Step children.

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RBBrittain says... June 3, 2018 at 3:59 a.m.

@mhck52: That sounds like Pulaski too, except Pulaski has ballot box scanners at every polling place as well as touchscreens; not sure about Saline, but most counties other than Pulaski with paper ballots have scanners only at the election commission. Since NO computer, even an offline one, is truly "unhackable" (no matter what ES&S or Martin says), manually marked scannable paper ballots are the safest voting method out there, because the ballot itself is the scannable AND visible paper trail; the paper trail on the existing touchscreens isn't 100% foolproof, and I have a feeling the new machines have a similar flaw (i.e., they *could* print one candidate on the paper trail/ballot in text, but another candidate in the barcode that's actually counted). It doesn't keep me from early voting on the touchscreens (more convenient for me), but sometimes old-school is still best.

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