AT&T’s 3G shutdown catches blame for a major election headache in Michigan

Some Michigan counties can not straight away report Tuesday night’s election effects due to a confusing mix of federal vote reporting assistance and AT&T’s decision to retire its 3G networks this previous February.

In a site notify, the Wayne County clerk’s place of work verified that 65 of Michigan’s 83 complete counties “are no lengthier modeming unofficial election results.” Wayne County is where Detroit is positioned, and it is the state’s most significant county by populace, with about 1.8 million residents. It’s unclear how many are because of to county officials that did not enhance their own modems, or if this is because of to U.S. Election Support Fee (EAC) recommendations advising from employing modems.

In area 14.2-E, the Voluntary Voting Method Rules (VVSG) 2. established in February 2021 advised against connecting voting methods to the world-wide-web. The tips cited the threat of ransomware, the skill for attackers to watch information within just the procedure, or modify data files within just it that have to do with election results and ballot data.

“This has considerably delayed the reporting process,” the Tuesday night time Wayne County alert browse. “We do not have a definitive time of when we will reach 100 per cent reporting, but will proceed to perform through the night and early morning right up until this is attained.”

Early Wednesday early morning, the Wayne County clerk’s place of work instructed WDIV reporter Grant Hermes that the plan was under no circumstances to use the modems, which hadn’t been updated for 4G LTE or 5G since the state is no extended certifying upgrades. At the very least in Wayne County, Hermes studies the success are driven from precincts to metropolis and township halls, manually study into a computer system there, exported, and despatched to the county applying secure FTP.

Elsewhere in Michigan, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum explained to The Verge that to be cyber safety aware, “we have under no circumstances modemed outcomes. So this did not improve our approach in Ingham County.”

In a assertion emailed to The Verge early Wednesday morning, Tracy Wimmer, the director of media relations for the Secretary of Condition, discussed the techniques that have been taken to present any probability of interference and to counter misinformation about voting that has concentrated on the use of modems. “The unofficial benefits from polling locations are staying driven by election personnel in autos in the many counties that are phasing out the use of modems to transmit unofficial outcomes … Counties are phasing out modems on different schedules simply because of their particular voting technique configurations and county wants – for example, all 65 Dominion units no for a longer time use modems.”

AT&T did not quickly react to a request for comment.

After asserting its strategies to stop its 3G wireless community in 2019, the service provider formally sunset the assistance this past February.

Wayne County Clerk:

Election Effects Update

Primarily based on the suggestion of the Voluntary Voting Programs Guideline 2. issued by the U.S. Election Assistance Fee, coupled with AT&T’s final decision in March 2022 to no more time assistance 3G modems, 65 out of 83 Counties in Michigan are no for a longer time modeming unofficial election success. This has signficantly delayed the reporting process. We do not have a definitive time of when we will arrive at 100 percent reporting, but will carry on to get the job done in the course of the evening and morning until finally this is attained.

Michigan Secretary of State:

Polling spots have shut and publicly posted unofficial success throughout Michigan and individuals unofficial outcomes are getting transmitted to county clerk places of work. Meanwhile, quite a few absentee ballot counting boards continue to rely the votes of as many as half or additional of the jurisdictions’ ballots, and total unofficial effects are not able to be known until finally all absentee ballots are counted. The unofficial outcomes from polling spots are staying pushed by election workers in cars in the many counties that are phasing out the use of modems to transmit unofficial final results. This is remaining carried out in accordance with advice issued by the U.S. Elections Support Commission in buy to protect against any distant possibility of interference, and to counter misinformation that has been circulated concerning the use of modems. Counties are phasing out modems on different schedules simply because of their specific voting process configurations and county requirements – for instance, all 65 Dominion systems no for a longer period use modems.

Update August 2nd, 1:58AM ET: Included additional data from the Wayne County Clerk, and a assertion from the place of work of the Michigan Secretary of Condition.

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