Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 mins ago - Technology

Doomsday Clock stays at 100 seconds to midnight

Robert Rosner, left, and Suzet McKinney reveal the 2021 setting of the Doomsday Clock. Photo: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/Thomas Gaulkin

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.