The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is teaming up with election officials and their private sector partners to develop and pilot an open source post-election auditing tool ahead of the 2020 elections. The tool is being created by VotingWorks, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to building secure election technology.
CISA’s investment is designed to support election officials and their private sector partners who are working to improve post-election auditing in the 2020 election and beyond. The tool supports numerous types of post-election audits across various types of voting systems including all major vendors.
“Heading into 2020, we’re exploring all possible ways that we can support state and local election officials while also ensuring that Americans across the country can confidently cast their votes,” said CISA Director Christopher Krebs. “At a time when we know foreign actors are attempting to interfere and cast doubt on our democratic processes, it’s incredibly important elections are secure, resilient, and transparent. For years, we have promoted the value of auditability in election security, it was a natural extension to support this open source auditing tool for use by election officials and vendors, alike.”
The auditing tool, known as Arlo, is open source software provided free for state and local election officials and their private sector partners to use. Arlo provides an easy way to perform the calculations needed for the audit: determining how many ballots to audit, randomly selecting which ballots will be audited, comparing audited votes to tabulated votes, and knowing when the audit is complete.
“We’re very excited to partner with CISA to develop Arlo, a critical tool supporting the implementation of more efficient and effective post-election audits. Because Arlo is open-source, anyone can take it and use it and anyone can verify that it implements audits correctly,” said Ben Adida, Executive Director of VotingWorks.
The first version of Arlo is already supporting pilot post-election audits across the country, including several from this month’s elections. Some partners of this pilot program include election officials in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, Ohio, and Georgia. Additional partners will be announced in the coming weeks. Director Krebs joined the Pennsylvania Department of State on Election Day this year to discuss the use of the tool.