Virginia decertifies touchscreen voting equipment

RICHMOND – The Department of Elections called for the immediate decertification of Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting equipment in Virginia, according to a press release issued Friday.

The State Board of Elections approved the request in an effort to increase the security and integrity of Virginia’s voting systems before the November election. The vote is effective immediately and means that DREs may no longer be used for elections in Virginia. They are currently used in 22 localities across the Commonwealth.

The DOE requested a security assessment by the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA) of various paperless voting systems in use in Virginia before determining that decertification was necessary to fight unauthorized access to the machines. The Department acknowledged that DREs in Virginia do not have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail, which is an important security feature provided by the paper systems.

The DOE contacted all DRE localities in early August about the security concerns to ensure they had enough time to smoothly transition before the upcoming election.

The following Virginia localities use DREs:

  • Bath
  • Buchanan
  • Chesapeake
  • Colonial Heights
  • Culpeper
  • Cumberland
  • Emporia
  • Falls Church
  • Gloucester
  • Hopewell
  • Lee
  • Madison
  • Martinsvill
  • Norfolk
  • Poquoson
  • Portsmouth
  • Rappahannock
  • Russell
  • Surry
  • Sussex
  • Tazewell
  • Washington

Seven of the above localities have informed the DOE that they have contracted to secure new equipment for use in the November General Election, while three are pending.

In 2015, Governor Terry McAuliffe proposed adding $28 million to the state budget for all Virginia localities to purchase new voting machines, but the proposal was not approved by the General Assembly.

Click here to read the full press release.