Good News From States on Voting Issues

Good News From States on Voting Issues

There’s some encouraging news from several states this morning about voting rights and voting security.

There’s some encouraging news from several states this morning about voting rights and voting security.

In Georgia, the state Senate passed legislation on Wednesday to scrap the state’s 27,000 touch-screen voting machines in favor of paper ballots.

If approved in the House and signed by the governor, the change will allow officials to preserve every vote cast in the nation’s eighth largest state, make it possible to audit election results to verify their accuracy.  The touch-screen machines now used in Georgia have been shown to be vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that lawmakers were told the change could cost up to $125 million and should be complete in time for the 2020 election. Common Cause and other voting security organizations have been lobbying across the country in support of the use of paper ballots.

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Wednesday to automatically put 16- and 17-year-old Californians on the voter rolls when they get their driver’s licenses. The law will allow those new drivers to vote as soon as they turn 18.

About 200,000 16- and 17-year-olds get driver’s licenses in the state each year, the Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley Journal reports.

California already is among the growing list of states that automatically register eligible voters when they do business with the state Department of Motor Vehicles or other agencies.

“We need more young people engaged in the political process and impacting issues like college access and affordability, climate change, healthcare and housing,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. “Voting is the rst step to make a citizen an active part of the political process. This measure will make sure that all voices in California are heard.”

In Oregon, the state legislature on Wednesday appropriated just over $166,000 to beef up the security of its elections by hiring a full-time internet security director for the secretary of state’s office.

Oregon is among 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign, the nation’s intelligence agencies reported last year. There’s no evidence that votes or registration records were altered, but Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s cybercommand, told senators earlier this week that Russian hackers already are at work to disrupt this year’s midterm elections.

Rogers said he’s received neither direction nor authority from President Trump to take retaliatory steps that might deter the Russian attacks.