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California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has conditionally approved Los Angeles County's new publicly-owned computerized voting system on Friday.

Why it matters: The Voting System for All People (VSAP) will be the first publicly owned and designed voting system in the U.S. However, many concerns and questions remain about the security of the election machines and other technical problems, AP notes. VSAP still requires some modifications to address these concerns.

  • Padilla is requiring polling centers to offer hand-marked ballots during the March 3 presidential primary.

The state of play: The system cost Los Angeles County up to $280 million to build. However, many reject VSAP because it relies on computerized-ballot marking devices they believe could be hacked, per AP.

  • Testers found that the VSAP system's "seals, locks, labels and sensors can all be bypassed," and that the ballot box can be easily opened.
  • Padilla has ordered all of these concerns be addressed.
“The certification of the first publicly owned voting system in the nation is a historic milestone for American democracy. VSAP is a big step forward in modernizing elections in Los Angeles County, which has been home to some of the oldest voting equipment in the state. Upgrading to a modern system will improve the long-term reliability and security of elections in the largest county in America.”
— California Secretary of State Alex Padilla

The big picture: Election security experts say all voters should use hand-marked paper ballots that will be available for audits and recounts, AP writes.

  • In reality, U.S. elections are ruled by three voting equipment and services companies that control about 90% of the market, and they've all been criticized for being vulnerable to tampering.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Rohingya refugees sue Facebook over Myanmar hate speech

Internally displaced Rohingya peoples at a market area in the Baw Du Pha IDP Camp in Sittwe in Myanmar's western Rakhine state. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Rohingya refugees accused Facebook in a $150 million lawsuit filed Monday of amplifying hate speech against the persecuted minority Muslims in Myanmar via algorithms and failing to take down inflammatory posts.

Why it matters: Thousands of Rohingya adults and children have been killed in what the United Nations deemed a genocidal campaign against the Muslim minority. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have been displaced, notably following a massacre by Myanmar's military in 2017.

Former D.C. Guard alleges Army Generals lied about Jan. 6 response

Members of the National Guard and Capitol police keep a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators away from the Capitol following the insurrection on Jan. 6. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former D.C. National Guard official has alleged that top Army generals "lied" to Congress in their testimony on the U.S. Capitol riot, Politico first reported Monday.

The big picture: Col. Earl Matthews, who was serving on Jan. 6, alleges in a memo that the official version on the military response is "worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist" and that the Pentagon inspector general's November report on it features "myriad inaccuracies, false or misleading statements, or examples of faulty analysis."

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

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