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Nonprofit aims to help update outdated voting machines

Gregory Miller with the Trust The Vote Project says the group wants open source vote-counting software that's a public good. (KATU Photo)

Oregon and Washington fortunately have avoided this problem, but the rest of the nation's vote-counting machines are outdated and set to expire after this election.

"Forty-three states have to replace their voting machines by 2020," said Gregory Miller with the Trust The Vote Project, which has a development office in Portland. "There's no spare parts left."

Trust The Vote Project is a not-for-profit tasked with renewing confidence in the country's election process.

"We have an entire voting infrastructure in this nation that's built on basic desktop personal computing technology from the 90s," Miller said.

Trust The Vote Project estimates that replacing vote-counting machines would cost around $3 billion. What the group hopes is to create an open source software that's a public good. Because the technology would be open sourced any updates would be free.

"Let's take the heavy lifting of research and development off the shoulders of these commercial vendors," Miller said.

Miller says as a whole the U.S. hasn't invested much money in its voting technology, because of that the companies handling the machines and software haven't had incentive to update their technology.

"Unbridled innovation can flourish because it's philanthropic effort to build a piece of technology that's publicly owned," Miller said.

The main obstacle for Trust The Vote Project is time and money. They have around 18 months left to get their plan for an open source software program approved. The goal is to show it's a cheaper option that allows for more transparency, allowing Americans to know for sure that their vote has been counted.

"We need an update and an upgrade and this is one way to do it," Miller said.

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