When voters go to the polls in five states, a verified paper trail will not follow them. At a time of heightened concerns over election interference, election-security experts have called for that to change, suggesting paper results – visually confirmed by voters – would help state officials recover in the event of meddling or simple mistakes. “That presents a greater risk because there’s no way to detect if things have gone wrong,” said Marian Schneider, former deputy secretary of voting and administration in Pennsylvania and the president of the group Verified Voting. Paper ballots – or, at least, auditable paper trails, in which voters can see their choices recorded on a printed roll of paper – have been recommended by experts from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program to the Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard’s Belfer Center. A large swath of Americans, however, will vote without them.
… Security experts have focused their worries mainly on other possible threats — such as hacking of voter-registration databases, which could wreak havoc on checking in voters and cause longer lines at the polls — but experts also voice concerns that results could be vulnerable nonetheless, if gaps in the system go unanticipated.
“There really is risk in using an electronic-only system, in that it’s not only about the machines, but it’s about the machines that program the machines — it’s about the machines that tally the votes,” McAfee Chief Technology Officer Steve Grobman told ABC.
“If somebody tells you that their risk is zero, that’s not true. We know that,” said Verified Voting’s Scheider.