California's Secretary of State announces plan to decertify legacy voting systems

Counties must upgrade equipment in time for March 2020 Primary

February 28, 2019

On February 27, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced his plan to decertify California's legacy voting systems to ensure counties use more secure equipment in time for the March 2020 California Presidential Primary.

His office issued a news release explaining why:

“Throughout California, many counties are using voting systems that are at or near their life expectancy,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Some counties use machines that are so old that vendors no longer make replacement parts. Some counties utilize operating systems that are so old that they are no longer supported and security upgrades are not available. While county officials have worked diligently to keep equipment up and running, our democracy faces increasingly sophisticated threats from nefarious actors, both foreign and domestic. The time is now for all California counties to modernize voting equipment.”

The California Voter Foundation welcomes this news. California's elections are more secure than other states because we require voter-verified paper audit trails and post-election audits. But our voting system is still at risk when counties use computerized voting equipment that is more than a decade old and cannot be upgraded. 

California's voting system standards were finalized in October 2014 and have been used to certify several voting systems which have been purchased or leased by 20 of California's 58 counties. These standards require source code review, volume testing, red team testing, functional testing and many other criteria that ensure California's voting equipment is rigorously tested (test results and reports are available on the Secretary of State's web site). They also require systems to be capable of performing risk-limiting audits. 

Additional vendors and systems are in the certification pipeline and counties will be provided some funding support to acquire new systems thanks to the inclusion of $134.3 million in the current state budget to help fund new voting equipment. 

To learn more about California's voting systems and this landmark decision, see: