Jul 13, 2019 - Technology

Election system runs on outdated, vulnerable operating system

Voting machine with older software

ExpressVote XL, Philly's first new voting machines since 2002. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP

The majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system for voting or tallying — archaic systems vulnerable to hackers, AP reports.

Why it matters: Private vendors, and state finances, determine the security level of election systems, which lack federal requirements or oversight.

What they're saying: J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan professor and election security expert, said the country risks repeating "mistakes that we made over the last ... decade-and-a-half when states bought voting machines but didn't keep the software up-to-date."

What's next: Windows 7 reaches its "end of life" Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops technical support and patches, although security updates will be provided for a fee through 2023.

  • AP's 50-state survey found that battleground states using Windows 7 include Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona and North Carolina.
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