A recent Associated Press analysis found that the majority of election jurisdictions in the U.S. employ aging technologies that could end up being vulnerable to cyberattacks.

AP found that most jurisdictions are employing Windows 7 software, which will cease being supported by Microsoft on Jan. 14, 2020. Microsoft will charge a fee to continue security updates for Windows 7 through 2023.

The vast majority of jurisdictions also use operating systems that are even older than Windows 7 to create ballots, program voting machines, and count votes. Without technical support and “patch fixes,” those systems will be vulnerable to cyberattacks, AP reported.

It’s unclear if systems running on a more updated operating system can be certified and rolled out in time for the 2020 elections, AP said.  Several “battleground” states were found to have out of date systems including Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The AP analysis surveyed all 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories.

States including Michigan and Georgia have acquired new election systems, while various counties in Delaware, South Carolina, and South Dakota are evaluating new acquisitions.

The House will take up its version of the Intelligence Authorization Act (HR 3494) this week, with the House Rules Committee convening to sort through the various amendments to the bill. Among those amendments are ones that will address election security, and how to label foreign adversaries involved in state-sponsored cyberattacks on election infrastructure.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.