Charleston, W.Va. – The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the nation's leading cybersecurity agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued an advisory last week calling attention to security issues with Dominion voting machines. The findings arise from a report released via court action in the State of Georgia where a judge allowed computer scientists access to look for potential security flaws in Dominion voting equipment.
The CISA advisory stated that there are nine separate and distinct security vulnerabilities identified in electronic voting machines used in 16 states manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems. The Report says that these specific voting machines are capable of being manipulated when cybersecurity experts have unfettered access to the equipment and are given the opportunity to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in the machines.
The Report makes no claims that the identified vulnerabilities resulted in manipulation or vote changes in any election, but it highlights the necessity for strong chain-of-custody protocols, tabulation audits, and pre/post-election testing. It should be noted, the recommendations made are already in place and being followed by election officials throughout West Virginia.
According to WV Secretary of State Mac Warner, all voters in West Virginia either vote using a ballot marking device with a paper ballot backup or cast their votes using traditional hand-marked paper ballots. Every in-person voter has the opportunity to review their paper-ballot backup prior to submitting their choices. Paper ballots are always the primary and definitive source for audits and canvassing the results. None of West Virginia’s electronic voting equipment is manufactured by Dominion Voting Systems. West Virginia’s voting equipment is manufactured by ES&S, the nation’s largest voting equipment manufacturer, and none of their machines in West Virginia ever connect to the internet.
"The ballot marking devices create a paper ballot to be verified by the voter for each and every vote cast in person,” Secretary Warner said. “These paper ballots are critical for ensuring the integrity of West Virginia’s elections by providing the means to conduct hand-count audits in every county to confirm votes all the way down to the precinct level."
Warner went on to explain that even with West Virginia's nation-leading electronic ballot return, paper ballots are generated for backup and security reasons. E-voting is permitted for overseas and military voters, first responders without available absentee mail-in options, and voters with qualifying disabilities that hinder the ability to cast a secret ballot. Each e-vote has a paper ballot backup created during the voting process. During the 2022 Primary Election, West Virginia introduced “end-to-end voting verification,” once again leading the nation in eliminating barriers to the ballot box while providing election security.
West Virginia also has strong election transparency laws in mandatory post-election audits prior to certification of the election which has led to high voter confidence. Prior to every state election, public testing of election equipment for logic and accuracy of result tabulation takes place in all 55 counties. Candidates and political parties have access to review voting equipment used in any election for 10 days after an election is certified, prior to being securely stored between elections.
"Confidence in West Virginia elections by West Virginia voters has never been higher," Warner said. "By working closely with legislative leaders from both parties and with all 55 county clerks we have put West Virginia into the top 10 states in voter confidence throughout the U.S."