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SCVNews.com | County Prepares for Updated Voting System | 07-20-2017
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1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]


As Los Angeles County prepares for the procurement and manufacturing stage of its nationally-recognized Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP), Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan is focusing resources on election security.

“Amid continuous investigation of attempted nation-state hacking of voter data and ongoing concerns about the age and technical vulnerability of the voting equipment used in the United States, it is imperative that next generation voting systems like the one we are developing in Los Angeles County are equipped to deliver voters a secure, useable and transparent voting experience,” said Logan.

Later this month, Logan is sending Information Technology staff to the annual DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas where a “Voting Machine Hacking Village” will be set up to identify vulnerabilities and susceptibility to hacking of commercial voting equipment. The DEF CON agenda also includes database hacking simulations and training on how to detect and respond to system penetration and disruption attacks.

Logan emphasized that election security is multi-faceted, including: the physical environment in which equipment is programmed and deployed; the firmware and hardware components of the voting system and, ultimately, human-readable paper ballots of record with post-election audits. “We have to defend against cyber-attacks and maintain appropriate security protocols while ensuring transparency and access.”

Los Angeles County is engaged in a multi-year project to develop and deploy a publicly-owned and operated voting system to replace its outdated InkaVote Plus system. At the inception of the project, the County established a Technical Advisory Committee including voting system usability, accessibility, and security experts, and academics with significant experience in technology development and/or voting system issues to ensure integrity and transparency in the new system to best serve Los Angeles County voters.

“As we prepare for the implementation of the new voting experience, we are putting security at the forefront,” said Logan. “Rather than relying solely on security testing by manufacturers and system regulators, we want to identify those with hands-on hacking experience, invite them in to kick the tires and make sure we build in the necessary defense to protect the integrity of our elections.”

Pioneered using a human-centered approach to system design and development, the County will begin introducing components of the new system in 2018 with full implementation by 2020. The new system includes multi-functional ballot marking devices to be deployed at community vote centers available to all voters beginning 10 days before Election Day; state-of-the-art accessibility and language assistance features; a revamped vote by mail ballot design; and a secure, interactive sample ballot accessible on mobile devices. For more information on the new voting model, please visit: vsap.lavote.net.

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