When Americans go to the polls Nov. 8, they expect their votes to be secret and secure. But recent hacks of two state voter databases make some question that expectation.
One report said it would be easy for hackers to access voting systems, but many state and industry officials are confident in their security. Ballots cast overseas have a different set of challenges.
Meanwhile, the act of voting is changing through innovative technologies.
21st Century State & Local takes a look at security at the ballot box.
Proposition: Voting Systems Are Vulnerable–No
Despite hacks against the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Arizona and Illinois voter databases, many state and industry officials feel confident in the security of elections systems in the upcoming election.“While no system is 100 percent hack proof, elections in this country are secure. Perhaps as secure as they’ve ever been,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
Proposition: Voting Systems Are Vulnerable–Yes
It wouldn’t be very hard for a hacker to access U.S. election systems, according to a recent report by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, titled “Hacking Elections is Easy.” “Every four years, during the presidential election, the same stories re-emerge acknowledging that the e-voting systems are vulnerable to the same old attacks, without any change in the security or oversight of the systems,” James Scott and Drew Spaniel write in the report.
Voting Gets a Technology Overhaul
States across the country are using innovative voting technologies to improve access, shorten wait times, and enable easier reporting of results. Alaska, Arizona, Iowa, California, and Minnesota all have new approaches.
Election Officials Focus on Security of Overseas Ballots
Military and overseas citizens face extra challenges when voting, and the threat of ballot hacking shouldn’t be one of them. Overseas voters have the option of emailing their ballots, which increases the likelihood that they could be hacked.