You may have read at NYMag that I’ve been in discussions with the Clinton campaign about whether it might wish to seek recounts in critical states. That article, which includes somebody else’s description of my views, incorrectly describes the reasons manually checking ballots is an essential security safeguard (and includes some incorrect numbers, to boot). Let me set the record straight about what I and other leading election security experts have actually been saying to the campaign and everyone else who’s willing to listen.
The Obama administration said on Friday that despite Russian attempts to undermine the presidential election, it has concluded that the results “accurately reflect the will of the American people.” The statement came as liberal opponents of Donald J. Trump, some citing fears of vote hacking, are seeking recounts in three states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — where his margin of victory was extremely thin.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is calling for a recount in three key states — Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — and has launched an effort to raise money to pay for the recount.
“After a divisive and painful presidential race, in which foreign agents hacked into party databases, private email servers, and voter databases in certain states, many Americans are wondering if our election results are reliable,” Stein said in a statement on her campaign website.
A Washington Post–ABC News poll found that 18% of voters — 33% of Clinton supporters and 1% of Trump supporters — think Trump was not the legitimate winner of the election. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has called on Congress to investigate the Russian cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee and the election. There are reasons for concern. According to the director of national intelligence, the leaked emails from the DNC were “intended to interfere with the U.S.
Every four years, America elects a president. And every four years around election time, Kim Alexander gets annoyed by the same question: Why can’t we vote over the internet yet? “I hate the question,” says Alexander, founder of the California Voter Foundation. Voting over the internet isn’t a priority for CVF, and won’t be for the foreseeable future. You would think an organization dedicated to “the responsible use of technology to improve the democratic process” would be for using the internet to make voting easier.
Despite warnings during the that there might be attempts by Russian hackers to disrupt or even influence the outcome of U.S. elections, authorities on high alert across the country last week detected no major cyber attacks or untoward online activity directed at election infrastructure, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday. “In connection with the election, we did not see anything that I would characterize as significant,” he told the Bloomberg Next forum in D.C., “There were minor incidents of the type that people might expect, but nothing of significance.”
It’s over. The voting went smoothly. As of the time of writing, there are no serious fraud allegations, nor credible evidence that anyone hacked the voting rolls or voting machines. And most important, the results are not in doubt. While we may breathe a collective sigh of relief about that, we can’t ignore the issue until the next election. The risks remain. As computer security experts have been saying for years, our newly computerized voting systems are vulnerable to attack by both individual hackers and government-sponsored cyberwarriors.
Tens of thousands of military and overseas Americans casting ballots online this fall face a high risk of being hacked, threatening to cause chaos around Election Day if their votes get manipulated or they transmit viruses to state and local election offices. More than 30 states — including battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina — allow various methods of online voting for citizens living outside the U.S.
Online voting is sometimes heralded as a solution to all our election headaches. Proponents claim it eliminates hassle, provides better verification for voters and auditors, and may even increase voter turnout. In reality, it’s not a panacea, and certainly not ready for use in U.S. elections. Recent events have illustrated the complex problem of voting in the presence of a state-level attacker, and online voting will make U.S. elections more vulnerable to foreign interference.
With increasingly heated allegations of “rigged elections,” things have probably not gotten better since a September 29 poll concluded that “more than 15 million voters may stay home on Election Day” over concerns about cyber-security. Equally problematic would be doubts about who won following November 8. A vibrant democracy requires trusted elections. Paper validation of ballots cast and meaningful audits of those ballots are important – and neglected – tools for bolstering trust.