Events >

#530 Online: Matt Bernhard, VotingWorks - Building voting systems that don't suck


Matt Bernhard, VotingWorks

Trust in American elections is at an all-time low. It can no longer be taken for granted that election results will be abided by, and skepticism about voting systems has run amok. Experts have been warning for years that insufficient security practices and a cumbersome regulatory regime has limited the ability of voting system vendors to provide adequately trustworthy equipment to conduct American elections.

In this talk, Dr. Matt Bernhard discusses how we got to where we are and where we can go from here. This includes a deep dive into VotingWorks, a non-profit open-source election technology company that currently serves 5 counties in Mississippi, and the cutting-edge security tools it is using to provide more robust voting machine security. The talk includes a look at the incredibly unique threat model of voting systems: offline operation only, nation-state level threats, and severe under-resourcing of local election officials to do their jobs right. It then look at how VotingWorks uses UEFI Secure Boot, TPM-based attestation, and the dm-verity features of the Linux kernel to ensure that every voting system it deploys can robustly provide evidence that tampering has not occurred with minimal extra effort or expense required by election officials. With these mechanisms and its open-source codebase, VotingWorks hopes to prove that election technology vendors can be part of the solution to voter distrust, not just one of the problems.