U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar sent at least three letters to the nation’s largest election tech vendors, including Dominion Voting Systems, regarding their “poor technology” and “lack of meaningful innovation.”
Election Systems & Software, Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic provide election machines and software for upwards of 90% of the population, an arrangement Klobuchar’s office has described as lacking competition.
The Trump campaign has leveled several accusations against Dominion, prompting the company to publish a full-throated defense of its products in which it denies reports of vote switching and software issues.
But at least some of its machines incorrectly counted votes for Democrats that were cast for Republicans in Antrim County, Michigan.
And President Donald Trump is far from the first politician to raise questions about Dominion.
In a December 2019 letter to a Dominion investor, Sen. Klobuchar called the company’s machines and software a threat to the “integrity of our elections” and claimed they are “prone to security problems.” She even cited reports of Dominion products switching votes in 2018.
Her scrutiny of Dominion, however, dates back to at least March 2018, when she sent a letter to the CEOs of all three companies regarding allegations that they “shared their source code with Russian entities.”
“According to voting machine testing and certification from the Election Assistance Commission, most voting machines contain software from firms which were alleged to have shared their source code with Russian entities,” said the letter.
“We are deeply concerned that such reviews may have presented an opportunity for Russian intelligence agents looking to attack or hack the United States’ elections infrastructure. Further, if such vulnerabilities are not quickly examined and mitigated, future elections will also remain vulnerable to attack,” it continued.
As Klobuchar’s letter explained, some American IT and software companies submit to “source code reviews” by foreign governments in order to gain access to their markets.
Her office then promoted an article from KSTP that said Minnesota would be using “voting machines over a decade old” in the 2018 midterms.
In a March 2019 letter, Klobuchar and three of her colleagues said they were particularly concerned about “the fact that many of the machines that Americans use to vote have not been meaningfully updated in nearly two decades.”
“Although each of your companies has a combination of older legacy machines and newer systems, vulnerabilities in each present a problem for the security of our democracy and they must be addressed,” said the letter, again sent to Dominion, Hart InterCivic and Election Systems & Software.
“There is a consensus among cybersecurity experts regarding the fact that voter-verifiable paper ballots and the ability to conduct a reliable audit are basic necessities for a reliable voting system. Despite this, each of your companies continues to produce some machines without paper ballots. The fact that you continue to manufacture and sell outdated products is a sign that the marketplace for election equipment is broken,” it continued.
In the face of a “massive responsibility,” the three companies have failed to produce any “meaningful innovation” and “our democracy is paying the price,” the letter concludes.
The Senate Rules Committee, for which Klobuchar serves as ranking member, called a hearing in July 2018 to discuss these issues.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon testified about how at least 44 million Americans “have no choice but to use insecure voting machines that make hackers and hostile foreign governments salivate.”
“It is, in my view, inexcusable that our democracy depends on such hackable voter technology made by a handful of companies that have been able to evade oversight and, in fact, have actually been stonewalling the Congress for years,” he said.