The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced Nov. 21 that it is developing and piloting a new open-source post-election auditing tool for use in the 2020 elections.

CISA, along with election officials and private sector partners, has turned to VotingWorks, a non-partisan, non-profit organization, to build the new technology, known as Arlo.

“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,” a press release from CISA said. “The tool supports numerous types of post-election audits across various types of voting systems including all major vendors.”

CISA Director Christopher Krebs noted that “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 software will be provided for free to state and local election officials, as well as their private sector partners. “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,” CISA noted.

With the 2020 general election looming in the not so distant future, CISA has already begun piloting Arlo in post-election audits. CISA noted that pilots are underway in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, Ohio, and Georgia, with additional pilots to be announced “in the coming weeks.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.