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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Multiple states lack the ability to guarantee the accuracy of election outcomes in the event of a suspected breach.

The big picture: Five states — Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey and Delaware — have no paper trails of votes. The other nine are in better shape, but still do not have all their counties’ machines spitting out a paper record.

The backstory: This is due to the direct recording electronic machines (DREs) these states use in some counties, which don’t cough up a paper copy of cast ballots.

Why it matters: Russia is likely hacking again this year, according to intelligence directors. And a hacker who wanted to insert doubt in the outcome of an election would just have to target the counties and states that lack 100% verification capabilities.

What the 9 states are doing:

  1. The Governor of Pennsylvania announced a directive that voting systems be required to provide a paper trail, with a goal of getting counties on board by November 2019.
  2. Texas has 23 counties that have updated their election systems since 2016. Eight have updated to systems with paper trails, Texas’ Secretary of State Communications Director Sam Taylor tells Axios.
  3. In Kansas there is a bill that is circulating in the state senate that would mandate all voting systems produce paper ballots, but it hasn't made it out of the Senate yet. On the House-side, there is an election audit bill with similar provisions, the legislature’s elections committee’s vice chair, Representative Keith Esau, tells Axios.
  4. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott’s recommendations for the 2018-2019 budget includes about $2.5 million to bolster cybersecurity at the Division of Elections as well as adding five cyber security roles to the team. Gov. Scott’s proposal also recommends $2 million from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in cyber security funds be granted to counties.
  5. In Tennessee, a bill that would have backed a paper trail of votes failed to reach the full committee in February. The bill’s sponsor, state senator Jeff Yarbro, told Axios he drafted an amendment to the bill so that it proposes that new machines in the state produce a paper trail.
  6. In Arkansas the Secretary of State’s office has received legislative approval for several years now to upgrade its election systems, but the state legislators have not allocated the funds. “We’re still working on that,” Chris Powell, the secretary’s spokesperson, told Axios. “We expect approval this week to spend additional money” on upgrading machines, he said.
  7. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in February she is “skeptical” about returning to paper ballots. “Given the release of the remaining HAVA dollars in the omnibus bill, we’re looking at options for security upgrades and election maintenance,” Ian Hauer, deputy communications director for Lawson, told Axios, adding they will "likely avoid making changes” this year.
  8. Kentucky: The State Board of Elections this year passed a resolution that will require all new voting equipment to have a paper trail of votes. One measure being discussed is one that would require future equipment purchased to produce a paper trail, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told the AP. A state official told Axios “there’s just not the funding available for that right now.”
  9. Mississippi's secretary of state's office, election officials, and state officials declined to comment for this story.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker