“The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked.”

Zeynep Tufekci for NYT opinion:

Since 1996, Georgia has voted for the Republican candidate in presidential elections, but this year a batch of recent polls have painted a tight race — with some polls even indicating that the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, may have an edge. If the race is close, and the outcome questioned, voters in Georgia will have no means to audit the results. Other potential swing states, like Pennsylvania and North Carolina, also use electronic machines with no paper trail, at least in some counties. Across the country, according to the non-profit Verified Voting, people in at least a dozen states could encounter electronic machines with no paper trail.

We have also seen concerns about foreign nations meddling directly in United States elections, via hacking or other means. This is an unlikely scenario; however, the fact that people are even voicing such concerns makes it all the more urgent to dispel them. As Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in cryptography and cybersecurity, said, “There is only one way to protect the voting system from a nation-state funded cyberattack: Use paper.”

Fortunately, there is a reliable and transparent method that combines convenience and the ability to perform an audit: paper ballot systems with optical scan counting. Avi Rubin, an expert on election security who is also a professor at Johns Hopkins, testified about a decade ago that when properly put into effect, these systems have many advantages. People can keep voting even if the equipment fails; it’s possible to audit results; and the systems are easy to use.



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