Letter to Governor Newsom and the Legislature on Voting Equipment Security

Report #247, March 2019
Letter to Governor Newsom and the Legislature on Voting Equipment Security

Full Report

Executive Summary

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2019

For Additional Information Contact:
Tamar Foster, Project Manager
(916) 445-2125

Commission Urges State to Proactively Strengthen the Security of California's Voting Equipment

The Little Hoover Commission sent a letter to the Governor and Legislature, available here, on Monday, March 4, 2019, calling upon lawmakers to fortify the state’s approach to voting equipment security.

During the course of its study, the Commission learned of many actions California takes to secure its elections, including implementing rigorous certification standards, requiring a paper trail for every vote cast, and recently establishing an Office of Cybersecurity to keep up with evolving security threats.

The Commission found, however, there are bigger, more aggressive steps the state could take in securing its voting equipment. “In this era when foreign interference, human error, and machine malfunctions dominate headlines, it’s more important than ever to remember the adage that security is a process, not a product,” said Little Hoover Commission Chairman Pedro Nava. “Though the state takes a number of important security measures, it must be more ambitious in making sure every Californian’s vote counts.”

The Commission identified the following key issues that policymakers must consider when securing the state’s voting equipment:

  • California must ensure every county’s voting equipment is as secure as possible, but the Commission found old and outdated voting equipment threatens election integrity.
  • California must prove to voters that the election results are legitimate, but more work is needed to better implement safeguards to catch and correct intentional or accidental discrepancies between how Californians voted and reported winners.
  • California’s “bottom-up” election system is valued for its ability to adapt to local needs, but the state lacks statewide goals for election system innovation.

The Little Hoover Commission is an independent state agency charged with recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs. The Commission’s recommendations are submitted to the Governor and the Legislature for their consideration and action. The letter report is available at www.lhc.ca.gov.

    Fact Sheet

    Study Description

    The Little Hoover Commission’s review of voting equipment security began during the course of its October 2018 voter participation study, Letter to Governor Brown and Legislature on Voter Participation in New Motor Voter Program. The Commission determined it wanted to learn more about how the state ensures that all Californians’ votes count, particularly relevant in light of Department of Homeland Security reports that foreign operatives in 2016 had scanned the state’s data networks.

    The Commission studied the strengths and vulnerabilities of the current election systems and their procurement; the policies, processes and procedures around their use; and plans to use available funding to update this equipment. Additionally, the Commission heard from security and elections experts in a July 2018 hearing about the implementation of best practices in California and opportunities to further improve voting equipment security.
     

    Agenda

    Overview

    In this report, the Little Hoover Commission calls on lawmakers and policymakers to consider expanding approaches to voting equipment security so all California voters can be sure the reported outcome actually represents their votes. 

    During the course of its study, the Commission found the state takes many actions to secure its elections, such as implementing rigorous certification standards, requiring a paper trail for every vote cast, and recently establishing an Office of Cybersecurity to keep up with evolving security threats.

    However, the Commission found areas in need of improvement, including old and outdated voting equipment, post-election auditing methods based on outdated methodology, and a lack of statewide goals for election system innovation.

    More inquiry is needed to address the ongoing and persistent challenges to California’s voting equipment security. To facilitate this, the Commission identified key issues policymakers should consider in weighing options to ensure that every jurisdiction within the state accurately and efficiently records and reports votes.
     

    Print 
			Agenda
    • February 28
      2019
      Business Meeting
      9:30 a.m., BMG Conference Room, 925 L Street, Sacramento, CA
      Business Meeting
      Agenda

      AGENDA

      Business Meeting
      Thursday, February 28, 2019
      925 L Street
      BMG Conference Room
      Sacramento, CA

      I. Business Meeting Minutes from October 25, 2018, November 15, 2018, January 24, 2019, and February 6, 2019

      II. Draft Report on Voting Equipment Security for Review and Possible Adoption

      III. Subcommittee Reports

      IV. Project Selection

      V. Implementation and Impact Activity

      VI. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office

      VIII. Briefing on two recent reports about the 1991 Realignment (10:30 a.m.)

      Senate Bill 90: 1991 Realignment Report (January 2019)
      Adam Dorsey, Program Budget Manager, Department of Finance
      Teresa Calvert, Assistant Program Budget Manager, Department of Finance
      Jay Kapoor, Assistant Program Budget Manager, Department of Finance 

      Rethinking the 1991 Realignment (October 2018)
      Lourdes Morales, Principal Fiscal & Policy Analyst, Legislative Analyst’s Office

      Public Notice

      PUBLIC NOTICE

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      February 14, 2019

      For Additional Information Contact:
      Tamar Foster, Project Manager
      (916) 445-2125

      Notice of Meeting

      On Thursday, February 28, 2019, the Little Hoover Commission will hold a business meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the BMG Conference Room located on the lower level of 925 L Street in Sacramento.

      At its business meeting, the Commission will review and possibly adopt a draft letter report on voting equipment security. The Commission also will consider items for future study and conduct other business as detailed on the agenda. Finally, the Commission will receive a briefing on two recent reports about the 1991 realignment from the Department of Finance and Legislative Analyst’s Office. Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments about Commission agenda items during the business meeting.

      If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Little Hoover Commission at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, February 21, 2019.

    • January 24
      2019
      Business Meeting
      9:30 a.m., Room 175, 925 L Street, Sacramento, CA
      Business Meeting
      Agenda

      AGENDA

      Business Meeting
      Thursday, January 24, 2019
      925 L Street, Room 175
      Sacramento, CA

      I. Business Meeting Minutes from October 25, 2018 and November 15, 2018

      II. Draft Biennial Report for Review and Possible Adoption

      III. Draft Report on Voting Equipment Security for Review and Consideration

      IV. Subcommittee Reports

      V. Project Selection

      VI. Implementation and Impact Activity

      VII. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office

      VIII. Closed Session:

      PERSONNEL

      The Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1). 

      Public Notice

      PUBLIC NOTICE

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      January 9, 2018

      For Additional Information Contact:
      Tamar Foster, Project Manager
      (916) 445-2125

      Revised Notice of Meeting (Agenda Updated)

      On Thursday, January 24, 2019, the Little Hoover Commission will hold a business meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Conference Room 175 located on the first floor of 925 L Street in Sacramento.

      At its business meeting, the Commission will review and possibly adopt its biennial report to the Governor and Legislature and discuss a draft letter report on voting equipment security. The Commission also will consider items for future study and conduct other business as detailed on the agenda. Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments about Commission agenda items during the business meeting.

      Following this discussion, the Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).  The Commission will then reconvene in open session and publically announce any actions taken in closed session consistent with Government Code section 11126.3, subdivision(f).

      If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Little Hoover Commission at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, January 17, 2019.

    • July 26
      2018
      Voting Equipment Security
      9:30 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
      Event
      Agenda

      AGENDA

      Public Hearing on Voting Equipment Security
      Thursday, July 26, 2018
      State Capitol, Room 437
      Sacramento, CA 95814

      An Introduction to Voting Equipment Security: How do Voters Know Their Vote Counts?
      1. Pamela Smith, Senior Advisor, Verified Voting (Written Testimony)
         
      2. Noel Runyan, Owner, Personal Data Systems (Written Testimony, Attachment).
      New Models to Improve Voting Equipment Security
      1. Philip Stark, Associate Dean, Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Professor, Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley (Written Testimony)
         
      2. E. John Sebes, Chief Technology Officer, Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute (Written Testimony)
      The County Perspective on Voting Equipment Security
      1. Kammi Foote, Clerk-Recorder, County of Inyo (Written Testimony)
         
      2. Kenneth Bennett, Program Manager, Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP), Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (Written Testimony)
      The Secretary of State’s Office on Voting Equipment Security
      1. Susan Lapsley, Deputy Secretary of State, HAVA Director and Counsel, California Secretary of State (Written Testimony)
      Comments Made by the Public

      Brent Turner (Written Testimony)

      Public Notice

      PUBLIC NOTICE

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      July 16, 2018

      For Additional Information Contact:
      Jeanne R. Wolfe, Executive Director (A)
      (916) 445-2125

      Notice of Meeting

      On Thursday, July 26, 2018, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing to examine voting equipment security in California. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

      Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting in the lower level conference room at 925 L Street in Sacramento. Members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on any item on the Commission’s business meeting agenda.

      Meetings of the Little Hoover Commission are open to the public except when specifically noticed otherwise in accordance with the Open Meeting Act. The Commission may take action on any item listed on the agenda, unless listed as informational only. Times are approximate and subject to change. Agenda items may be taken out of order to accommodate speakers and to maintain a quorum. The meeting may be cancelled without notice. Written comments on the agenda items should be submitted to the Commission no later than 12:00 p.m. the day before the meeting. Email comment letters to krystal.beckham@lhc.ca.gov. For questions regarding this meeting, please call (916) 653-1028.

      The Commission endeavors to broadcast its hearings live, but this is dependent on the availability of Assembly TV the day of the hearing. Live broadcasts can be viewed on The California Channel at http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast/. The hearing will be video-recorded and will be made available on The California Channel’s archives at the following link within two business days: http://www.calchannel.com/video-on-demand/.

      If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Acting Executive Director Jeanne R. Wolfe at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, July 19, 2018.

      Video

    Print 
		Agenda
    • February 28
      2019
      Business Meeting
      9:30 a.m., BMG Conference Room, 925 L Street, Sacramento, CA
      Business Meeting
      Agenda

      AGENDA

      Business Meeting
      Thursday, February 28, 2019
      925 L Street
      BMG Conference Room
      Sacramento, CA

      I. Business Meeting Minutes from October 25, 2018, November 15, 2018, January 24, 2019, and February 6, 2019

      II. Draft Report on Voting Equipment Security for Review and Possible Adoption

      III. Subcommittee Reports

      IV. Project Selection

      V. Implementation and Impact Activity

      VI. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office

      VIII. Briefing on two recent reports about the 1991 Realignment (10:30 a.m.)

      Senate Bill 90: 1991 Realignment Report (January 2019)
      Adam Dorsey, Program Budget Manager, Department of Finance
      Teresa Calvert, Assistant Program Budget Manager, Department of Finance
      Jay Kapoor, Assistant Program Budget Manager, Department of Finance 

      Rethinking the 1991 Realignment (October 2018)
      Lourdes Morales, Principal Fiscal & Policy Analyst, Legislative Analyst’s Office

      Public Notice

      PUBLIC NOTICE

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      February 14, 2019

      For Additional Information Contact:
      Tamar Foster, Project Manager
      (916) 445-2125

      Notice of Meeting

      On Thursday, February 28, 2019, the Little Hoover Commission will hold a business meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the BMG Conference Room located on the lower level of 925 L Street in Sacramento.

      At its business meeting, the Commission will review and possibly adopt a draft letter report on voting equipment security. The Commission also will consider items for future study and conduct other business as detailed on the agenda. Finally, the Commission will receive a briefing on two recent reports about the 1991 realignment from the Department of Finance and Legislative Analyst’s Office. Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments about Commission agenda items during the business meeting.

      If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Little Hoover Commission at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, February 21, 2019.

    • January 24
      2019
      Business Meeting
      9:30 a.m., Room 175, 925 L Street, Sacramento, CA
      Business Meeting
      Agenda

      AGENDA

      Business Meeting
      Thursday, January 24, 2019
      925 L Street, Room 175
      Sacramento, CA

      I. Business Meeting Minutes from October 25, 2018 and November 15, 2018

      II. Draft Biennial Report for Review and Possible Adoption

      III. Draft Report on Voting Equipment Security for Review and Consideration

      IV. Subcommittee Reports

      V. Project Selection

      VI. Implementation and Impact Activity

      VII. Reports from the California State Auditor’s Office

      VIII. Closed Session:

      PERSONNEL

      The Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1). 

      Public Notice

      PUBLIC NOTICE

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      January 9, 2018

      For Additional Information Contact:
      Tamar Foster, Project Manager
      (916) 445-2125

      Revised Notice of Meeting (Agenda Updated)

      On Thursday, January 24, 2019, the Little Hoover Commission will hold a business meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Conference Room 175 located on the first floor of 925 L Street in Sacramento.

      At its business meeting, the Commission will review and possibly adopt its biennial report to the Governor and Legislature and discuss a draft letter report on voting equipment security. The Commission also will consider items for future study and conduct other business as detailed on the agenda. Members of the public will have an opportunity to make comments about Commission agenda items during the business meeting.

      Following this discussion, the Commission will meet in closed session to discuss personnel matters consistent with Government Code section 11126, subdivision (a)(1).  The Commission will then reconvene in open session and publically announce any actions taken in closed session consistent with Government Code section 11126.3, subdivision(f).

      If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact the Little Hoover Commission at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, January 17, 2019.

    • July 26
      2018
      Voting Equipment Security
      9:30 a.m., State Capitol, Room 437, Sacramento, CA
      Event
      Agenda

      AGENDA

      Public Hearing on Voting Equipment Security
      Thursday, July 26, 2018
      State Capitol, Room 437
      Sacramento, CA 95814

      An Introduction to Voting Equipment Security: How do Voters Know Their Vote Counts?
      1. Pamela Smith, Senior Advisor, Verified Voting (Written Testimony)
         
      2. Noel Runyan, Owner, Personal Data Systems (Written Testimony, Attachment).
      New Models to Improve Voting Equipment Security
      1. Philip Stark, Associate Dean, Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Professor, Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley (Written Testimony)
         
      2. E. John Sebes, Chief Technology Officer, Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute (Written Testimony)
      The County Perspective on Voting Equipment Security
      1. Kammi Foote, Clerk-Recorder, County of Inyo (Written Testimony)
         
      2. Kenneth Bennett, Program Manager, Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP), Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (Written Testimony)
      The Secretary of State’s Office on Voting Equipment Security
      1. Susan Lapsley, Deputy Secretary of State, HAVA Director and Counsel, California Secretary of State (Written Testimony)
      Comments Made by the Public

      Brent Turner (Written Testimony)

      Public Notice

      PUBLIC NOTICE

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      July 16, 2018

      For Additional Information Contact:
      Jeanne R. Wolfe, Executive Director (A)
      (916) 445-2125

      Notice of Meeting

      On Thursday, July 26, 2018, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearing to examine voting equipment security in California. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol in Sacramento.

      Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting in the lower level conference room at 925 L Street in Sacramento. Members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on any item on the Commission’s business meeting agenda.

      Meetings of the Little Hoover Commission are open to the public except when specifically noticed otherwise in accordance with the Open Meeting Act. The Commission may take action on any item listed on the agenda, unless listed as informational only. Times are approximate and subject to change. Agenda items may be taken out of order to accommodate speakers and to maintain a quorum. The meeting may be cancelled without notice. Written comments on the agenda items should be submitted to the Commission no later than 12:00 p.m. the day before the meeting. Email comment letters to krystal.beckham@lhc.ca.gov. For questions regarding this meeting, please call (916) 653-1028.

      The Commission endeavors to broadcast its hearings live, but this is dependent on the availability of Assembly TV the day of the hearing. Live broadcasts can be viewed on The California Channel at http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast/. The hearing will be video-recorded and will be made available on The California Channel’s archives at the following link within two business days: http://www.calchannel.com/video-on-demand/.

      If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact Commission Acting Executive Director Jeanne R. Wolfe at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, July 19, 2018.

      Video