After the 2016 US presidential election, a number of states, including Pennsylvania, have pledged to increase investment in voting machines to minimize security issues. However, according to the latest report released by the Associated Press, although all states in the United States have purchased new equipment, these devices are running outdated software and are still vulnerable to hackers.
The core issue with these new devices is that they still run Windows 7 systems. Microsoft released the operating system between 2009 and 2014 and has been replaced by Windows 10. The company has reduced its support for the operating system and will officially end its support in January next year.
In an analysis of voting machines in all 50 states, the Associated Press said it was affected by the suspension of Windows 7 in several Battle States, also known as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida. States, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona and North Carolina. Also similar to Georgia and Michigan are considering using Windows 7 in the new system.
In addition, the Associated Press also said that the equipment provided by the top two voting machine suppliers, Election Systems and Software LLC and Hart InterCivic Inc, runs outdated software. Mainstream support for the operating systems used by Hart InterCivic (Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2015 LTSB) will end on October 30, 2020.
Both Election Systems and Software LLC said they will offer a new system running on Windows 10. However, it is unclear whether the equipment already in use will be upgraded before the 2020 election that began in November.
The third supplier, Dominion Voting Systems Inc., was not affected by the issue, but the company noted that multiple systems previously acquired from companies that no longer exist may still be running on older operating systems.
As states began preparing for the 2020 election and placing orders for the new system, state officials in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona said they had discussed software issues with the machine with the vendor.