GOP candidate Donald Trump's recent claims about a "rigged" election are shining a spotlight on the nation's voting infrastructure.
Experts say the chances of hacking at the polls are remote, since voting machines aren't typically connected to the internet. Still, research shows the technology behind most of these machines is grossly outdated.
Forty-three states have voting machines that are at least a decade old, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan policy group at New York University's Law School. Gregory Miller, co-founder of the Oset Institute, which works with election officials to update infrastructure, said most voting machines are running on outdated software like Windows 2000.
"The largest problem here is that the PC-based equipment is based upon technology that is not only antiquated, but it is flat out obsolete," Miller said. "Innovation in this space has devolved to a discussion of spare parts from Asia, and software patches from Eastern Europe."
Three main companies provide the vast majority of voting machines for U.S. elections — ES&S, Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic. The challenge facing the companies, according to Miller, is that states don't have money to buy upgraded equipment, so companies don't have the incentive to innovate.
"If you don't have customers willing to pay for your product, you end up making a minimally viable product and relying on extensive service and support agreements over an extended period of time to keep that machine running properly," Miller said.
Currently, there are two bills in Congress that would address these issues. The "Election Infrastructure and Security Promotion Act of 2016" would require the Department of Homeland Security to designate voting systems as "critical infrastructure," which would allow for more DHS support and protections. The other bill, the "Election Integrity Act," would restrict the voting machines that states can buy.