Nov 8, 2018

What an unhacked election means for election security

A voter submits a ballot in Hermosa Beach, Ca. on Tuesday. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

No one appears to have hacked the 2018 midterm elections. That's pretty good!

Yes, but: Concern over what happened in 2016 fueled much of the legislative momentum to increase election security. After a successful election, some of that impetus could vanish.

What they're saying: "It was clear that the stepped-up effort and heightened awareness around election security helped in the midterm elections," said Jay Kaplan, co-founder and CEO of Synack, a security firm that pledged more than $1 million to a pro bono election security service for states.

  • "A united, proactive effort on election security can defend our democracy from our adversaries, but we absolutely cannot get complacent," he said.

The bottom line: States still lack adequate funding to purchase less hackable equipment, including machines with auditable paper backups and other security enhancements. Not all states that can audit machine accuracy, do audit machine accuracy — useful against hacking or bugs. And while the bevy of companies volunteering services, like Synack, is helpful, the effort lacks coordination.

The outlook: Many states are still gung-ho about improving security.

  • "This doesn’t change our attention to election security concerns," said a representative from the Colorado secretary of state's office. "This is a race without a finish line because the nature of threats is continually evolving and requires vigilance."

But it will take until January to see whether the new Congress has matching enthusiasm.

And the midterm elections aren't over. There are still recounts and runoff elections aplenty before this election is totally out of the woods.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 855,007 — Total deaths: 42,032 — Total recoveries: 176,714.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 186,265 — Total deaths: 3,810 — Total recoveries: 6,910.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful" on Tuesday, with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The White House and other institutions are observing several models to help prepare for when COVID-19 is expected to peak in the U.S.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 47 mins ago - Health

Paying rent in a pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For many people who've lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow presents a stressful decision: Do you pay your rent or mortgage?

Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide tells Axios.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health