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

Some Michigan counties can’t report midterm elections results due to a mix of confusing federal vote reporting guidance and AT&T’s decision to retire its 3G network.

Some Michigan counties can’t immediately report Tuesday night’s election results due to a confusing mix of federal vote reporting guidance and AT&T’s decision to retire its 3G networks this past February.

In a website alert, the Wayne County clerk’s office confirmed that 65 of Michigan’s 83 total counties “are no longer modeming unofficial election results.” Wayne County is where Detroit is located, and it’s the state’s biggest county by population, with about 1.8 million residents. It’s unclear how many are due to county officials that did not upgrade their own modems, or if this is due to U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) guidelines advising against using modems.

In section 14.2-E, the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) 2.0 established in February 2021 advised against connecting voting systems to the internet. The guidelines cited the risk of ransomware, the ability for attackers to view files within the system, or modify files within it that have to do with election results and ballot records.

“This has significantly delayed the reporting process,” the Tuesday night Wayne County alert read. “We do not have a definitive time of when we will reach 100 percent reporting, but will continue to work throughout the evening and morning until this is achieved.”

When asked if the modems would be upgraded the answer was the state isn't certifying upgrades. When I asked why we weren't told about the plan to scrap the modems I wasn't given a direct answer. Only that the intent was to make the election more secure. 3/

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