Why isn't congress helping in upgrading Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)?


It seems that the technology used for elections in the US is decades old and an easy target for different kinds of attacks. Not upgrading the EVMs increases the possibility of attack vectors on EVMs. So why is Congress underfunding deployment and upgrading new EVMs?

  1. America's Electronic Voting Machines are scarily easy targets - Wired.com
  2. The voting technology we really need? Paper. - The Atlantic.
  3. America's voting technology crisis. - The Atlantic.
  4. The Insecurity Of America's Old And Underfunded Voting Systems - NPR.

For comparison, India (being the world's largest democracy) has relatively advanced and cheaper EVMs which doesn't cost the government a huge amount of money in terms of cost.


Posted 2018-03-19T14:06:31.420


4Often times the first adopters of a technology are then also stuck with the oldest implementation of it, while newer adopters (like India) can jump right to the latest (and usually better) version. This is also why organisations like banks and insurance companies often run on ancient technology. – None – 2018-03-19T14:20:07.837

4@Carpetsmoker There's a critical difference there in that banking systems are fantastically secure because they rely on extensively proven technologies rather than upgrading to new versions. It's way easier to break a modern Java application than a 30 year old Cobalt system, to use a trivial example. – GGMG-he-him – 2018-03-19T14:29:16.573

1Yes, you are right that there are also many differences @GGMG, but I think that the general principle still applies? – None – 2018-03-19T14:33:46.470

3@Carpetsmoker Maybe. Legacy systems can certainly be insecure (Look up some of the original viruses or famous Windows bugs for good examples) and they can be fantastically secure (banking, electrical grid, nuclear launch codes to use obvious examples). But a newer system =/= "usually better", either in terms of security, usability, or stability. I'd make that an answer, but I don't have the experience Wired has. – GGMG-he-him – 2018-03-19T14:40:16.477

2@GGMG It's also why the United States Nucear Arsenal hasn't had much tech upgrades... a good portion of systems in the missiles are hard code, which means that in order to change that code, they have to remove hardware and replace it with a component with the changed code. – hszmv – 2018-03-19T14:52:02.853

@hszmv It's seems really odd that for state and local elections , government has to spend 2500$-3000$ for just a single voting station and it's too much , the cost here strips away benefit of doubt . Newer tech can be open-sourced and can be made more secure but spending this much money is stupidity - http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2016/03/02/aging-voting-machines-cost-local-state-governments

– None – 2018-03-19T18:26:18.147

Just as a comment: Why EVMs at all? The paper voting system has the only disadvantage that counting takes longer, but even that is moot because it allows every observers to actually verify the result for themselves. EVMs are intransparent and easy targets for fraud. – Thorsten S. – 2018-03-20T04:06:47.090

@ThorstenS. - That's the problem with your view because as the population goes on increasing , it will become more and more difficult to count votes in the 3rd largest country of this planet by population. Remember Bush vs Algore or several other examples. There have even been cases where in one count one person won but in the 2nd count of the same election the other person has won - all of this because of non-electronic voting system and EVMs can be made more transparent if it's open-sourced - It will be difficult for most of the people to understand the code but that's fine. – None – 2018-03-20T05:49:57.873

1@Aashish I am actually a software developer and I can tell you from experience that there is nothing easier than manipulating EVMs. How do you know that the code is correctly written? And if it is correct, how do know that this code is currently running on the system? That someone did not modify the code by malware or replaced the processor? That the receipts printed B and A is counted? EVMs try to solve a non-existing problem. Counting scales because there are more counters in a populous country. The problems you mention exist because the counting was stopped (illegally) – Thorsten S. – 2018-03-20T06:12:51.110



First, voting methods, such as EVM are primarily a state and local function rather than a federal function, although federal regulation and funding are permitted.

Second, the current administration opposes such funding in its budget, in part, because that would admit that there was a problem in the 2016 election which could cast doubt on its legitimacy.


Posted 2018-03-19T14:06:31.420

Reputation: 34 346

1Your second point is a joke right? The current administration is less than 2 years in, why didn't the previous administration do anything about this? Were they also opposed to it? – tima – 2018-03-23T06:19:52.043