Top voting machine maker reverses position on election security, promises paper ballots

Voting machine maker ES&S has said it “will no longer sell” paperless voting machines as the primary device for casting ballots in a jurisdiction. ES&S chief executive Tom Burt confirmed the news in an op-ed. TechCrunch understands the decision was made around the time that four senior Democratic lawmakers demanded to know why ES&S, and two other major voting machine makers, were still selling decade-old machines known to contain security flaws. Burt’s op-ed said voting machines “must have physical paper records of votes” to prevent mistakes or tampering that could lead to improperly cast votes. Sen. Ron Wyden introduced a bill a year ago that would mandate voter-verified paper ballots for all election machines. The chief executive also called on …

Facebook still a great place to amplify pre-election junk news, EU study finds

A study carried out by academics at Oxford University to investigate how junk news is being shared on social media in Europe ahead of regional elections this month has found individual stories shared on Facebook’s platform can still hugely outperform the most important and professionally produced news stories, drawing as much as 4x the volume of Facebook shares, likes, and comments. The study, conducted for the Oxford Internet Institute’s (OII) Computational Propaganda Project, is intended to respond to widespread concern about the spread of online political disinformation on EU elections which take place later this month, by examining pre-election chatter on Facebook and Twitter in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Swedish. Junk news in this context refers to …