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 the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

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!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

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: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Five states in the U.S. — Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Delaware — run their elections using direct recording electronic machines (DREs), which provide no paper trail of the votes. That means if there’s a contested election or a suspected breach or tampering attempt in those states, there is no way to verify the election result.

Why it matters: Intelligence officials are warning that Russia will try to influence the 2018 elections and these states' election officials and state legislatures are in various stages of considering ways to get new election equipment on the books. But they might not come in time for the primaries that begin this March, or the midterms this fall.

What they're doing:

  1. Louisiana: The state is planning to put out a request for proposals to set up a new, more up-to-date system, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler tells Axios. “If the piece of paper gives them that assurance” that an election can’t be hacked, Schedler said, “I’m all for it.” Schedler said any replacement would be due to the age of the system, not because of any concern there might be a breach.
  2. Georgia: There are three proposals circulating in the general assembly that would back using machines with paper trails, a state official tells Axios, but it's not clear that any of them will pass this year. The governor’s budget proposal doesn’t include the funding for such an initiative, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  3. South Carolina: State election officials asked the state legislature to provide $20 million to replace the state’s voting system to provide a paper trail of the vote, per their budget request. The House is going to discuss the budgeting next week, but does not have hard numbers yet on whether that request can be met.
  4. New Jersey: Deputy Majority Leader Reed Gusciora told Axios he plans to introduce a bill in the state assembly to back an election system that produces a paper trail of votes. A similar measure passed the legislature last year, but it was never funded.
  5. Delaware: The Department of Elections this week received seven proposals for voting machine equipment that would leave a voter-verified paper trail of votes, the state election commissioner, Elaine Manlove, told Axios. Manlove said her team wants to make an offer this year, although the machines aren't expected to be in use until 2020.

Flashback: Virginia switched to machines that provide a paper trail in just about two months last year after it discovered machines in about 22 localities were at risk of tampering.

“I remember intervening very quickly … This is about the integrity of our system,” not about whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told Axios in an interview after the switch. Virginia was one of the 21 states that was targeted in 2016.

Nine other states — Pennsylvania, Texas, Kansas, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi — use a combination of paper ballots and electronic machines without a paper trail, per Verified Voting.

Go deeper

Judge temporarily blocks South Carolina ban on school mask mandates

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked South Carolina's ban on mask mandates in schools, ruling that it discriminated against students with disabilities and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Why it matters: As mask bans extend to public schools around the country, parents and disability rights activists have sounded alarm bells. The ruling may signal the outcomes of legal fights playing out across the country.

DeSantis takes legal action against Biden efforts on immigration

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took legal action on Tuesday to try to stop the Biden administration's immigration plans.

Why it matters: The Republican governor, who is running for re-election next year and is possibly eyeing a 2024 presidential bid, is picking a high-profile fight with Biden while re-upping his hardline stance on immigration.

Left: Senate's threat "insane"

The famously press-shy Sen. Kyrsten Sinema speaks briefly with reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) lambasted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday, saying "it's insane" that "one senator" is blocking attempts to settle on a palatable figure for President Biden's proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.

Why it matters: The figure is the linchpin to getting progressive support for the companion $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. Khanna's statement reflects broader dissatisfaction among House progressives with Sinema and her fellow holdout, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).