After copies of voting systems across the country were made public, a group of election security specialists called for an audit of the recall election for California’s governor.
Their letter sent to the secretary of state’s office urges the state to conduct a type of post-election audit that can help detect malicious attempts to interfere.
The recall of the Democratic governor is statewide. Gavin Newsom, set for Sept. 14, is the first election since copies of Dominion Voting Systems’ election management system were distributed last month at an event organized by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, an ally of former President Donald Trump who has made unsubstantiated claims about last year’s election. Dominion systems are used by election offices in 30 states, including 40 California counties.
Experts in election security have stated that the hacks, which occurred in Colorado and Michigan, present a greater risk to elections due to the system’s use for administrative functions, including designing and configuring voting machines and tallying votes. The experts stated that they don’t have any evidence that anyone is planning to hack the California systems and do not blame Dominion.
“However it is important to recognize that Dominion’s release into the wild has increased risk to security of California elections to a point where emergency action is warranted,” experts wrote in a letter that was shared with The Associated Press.
The letter was signed by eight experts, including computer scientists, election technology experts, and cybersecurity researchers.
Jenna Dresner is a spokesperson for Secretary of State Shirley Weber. She stated that the 40 California counties using Dominion use a different version, which meets state-specific requirements. There are many security measures that have been put in place to safeguard the voting systems throughout the state, she said. This includes regular testing for vulnerabilities and strict controls on who can access them, as well as physical security rules and preelection testing to ensure no part of the system is altered.
Dresner stated in a statement to AP that California has the most rigorous and comprehensive voting system testing, use and requirements. It was built to withstand potential threats.
Security experts recommend that California counties that use Dominion’s electoral management system do what’s called a “risk-limiting auditor.” This is essentially a statistical approach to verify that reported results are consistent with actual votes cast. California also uses paper ballots which make it easier to verify the results.