Election commission hires 2 tech experts for testing and certification program

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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has added two experienced hands to its voting system certification program amid concerns it had a shortage of technical experts overseeing election infrastructure.

The agency is staffing up its crucial certification program by hiring Jessica Bowers, a former executive at Dominion Voting Systems, one of the country’s three largest voting system vendors, and Paul Aumayr, a former Maryland election official. Both new hires will work as senior election technology specialists.

In an email announcement to staff obtained by CyberScoop, EAC Executive Director Brian Newby touted Bowers and Aumayr’s technical acumen. Bowers has “over 18 years of software development and product support experience,” while Aumayr is a “Microsoft-certified systems engineer,” Newby wrote.

Both will begin work May 28 and report to Jerome Lovato, a former Colorado state election official. Earlier this month, Lovato was tapped to head the EAC’s program for testing and certifying voting systems. He replaced Ryan Macias, whose departure from the commission prompted two Senate Democrats to write to the EAC expressing concern about a lack of technical expertise at the commission before the 2020 election.

The EAC’s testing and certification program works with the country’s top voting equipment vendors to certify and decertify voting system hardware and software, and accredits labs for testing equipment.

It was not immediately clear how the EAC might mitigate any potential conflicts of interest that could arise with hiring Bowers, the former director of certification at Dominion Voting Systems, onto the EAC program. An EAC spokesperson could not be reached for comment by press time.

According to her LinkedIn biography, Bowers is a former software engineer at Level 3 Communications, a telecommunications company that has since been acquired by CenturyLink. She has spent the last decade with Dominion Voting Systems. Aumayr was most recently director of voting systems at the Maryland State Board of Elections, meaning he was in charge of Maryland’s “uniform voting system and electronic pollbooks,” Newby wrote.

U.S. officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, have warned that foreign adversaries will seek to interfere in the 2020 election. Against that backdrop, EAC officials have asked for more money from Congress to put toward securing election technology. In the latest round of scrutiny from Capitol Hill, the EAC leadership is due on Tuesday to testify before the House Administration Committee.

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2020 presidential election, Dominion Voting Systems, Election Assistance Commission, election security
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