Media Contact

Imelda Mejia, ACLU of Texas, 346-299-6803, media@aclutx.org

October 22, 2019

HOUSTON – The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Protect Democracy, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, and Public Citizen today sent letters to 29 Texas counties urging the adoption of secure, paper-based voting machines ahead of the 2020 elections. The identified counties currently use paperless machines, which the groups argue present significant risk to election security.

“A voting system that cannot guarantee secure ballots jeopardizes the democracy demanded by our Constitution,” said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Counties play a crucial role in the electoral process. We urge them to take the necessary steps to ensure every eligible voter can cast a ballot that will be counted.”

The letter details flaws found in current machines, including:

  • Vulnerable ports used to network machines together
  • Programming errors that allow execution of malware
  • Insecure or nonexistent cryptography

The groups demand the counties use a voting system that includes an auditable, voter-verifiable paper record of every vote that cannot be altered or otherwise affected by machine failure.

“Ensuring voters have access to reliable, secure voting machines is not only a national security issue but a constitutional requirement,” said Jamila Benkato, counsel for Protect Democracy. “Although time is tight, counties still have the opportunity to jettison outdated, insecure machines before the 2020 election.”

The letter was sent to the following counties:

Bee County
Brown County
Burnet County
Cass County
Fannin County
Fort Bend
County
Galveston County
Grimes County
Hale County
Hardin County
Harris County
Hill County
Hood County
Howard County
Hunt County
Jim Wells County
Kendall County
Kerr County
Matagorda County
McLennan County
Montgomery County
Palo Pinto County
Upshur County
Webb County
Wharton County
Wichita County
Wise County
Wood County
Victoria County

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