#1272316: America faces a voting security crisis in 2020. Here’s why – and what officials can do about it

Description: Paperless voting machines are just waiting to be hacked in 2020. And “upgrading” to paper-based voting machines may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s something cybersecurity experts are urging election officials across the country to do. A POLITICO survey found that in 2018, hundreds of counties in 14 states used paperless voting machines — and almost half of the counties that responded to the survey said they don’t plan on changing that ahead of 2020. Security experts said paperless voting machines are vulnerable to hacking because they leave no paper trail and there’s no way to reliably audit the results when an error occurs.

Thousands of Redditors joined us as cybersecurity reporter Eric Geller and voting security expert and University of Michigan professor J. Alex Halderman took on Reddit's most pressing questions about the weaknesses in America’s election systems. We chatted about voting methods in various countries from the U.S. to India, how much the transition to paper ballots would cost, and even "Star Wars."

Here are a few of the best Q&As from our robust cybersecurity discussion, lightly edited for clarity and length.

What are the most convincing arguments against internet voting?

Internet voting systems tend to be fragile. A few years ago, Washington, D.C., built an online voting system and invited anyone to try to hack in during a mock election. It took me and my students only about 48 hours to gain full control and change all the votes, and the election officials didn't notice anything was wrong until somebody noticed a musical "calling card" we left for them to find. — Halderman

Why are so many politicians against paper ballots?

Politicians want to give voters what they want, and voters enjoy electronic voting machines because they're familiar and convenient (they're basically giant iPads). Some politicians also harbor mistaken beliefs about the security and reliability of paper ballots compared to electronic devices. In some cases, politicians aren't so much against paper ballots as they are against replacing what they have with something else, for cost and logistical reasons. — Geller
More info: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/16/voting-security-crisis-q-a-1466704

Date added Aug. 18, 2019, 6:16 p.m.
Source Politico
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