Despite fears of Election Day mayhem, the 2016 presidential race is likely to be the most secure in years, according to experts. That’s because the way America casts and counts its vote is increasingly driven by newer and more reliable technology, they say. “I don’t think we’d be here if we did believe it was rigged,” Amy Muffo, a software development manager from Raleigh, North Carolina, said while waiting in line Thursday to vote early at the Optimist Community Center in suburban Raleigh. So why are others worried? Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has stoked concern with doomsday predictions of election chaos that experts warn are exaggerated. Although the Nov. 8 election is national, it is operated at the state and local level, under differing rules in all 50 states. Forty-one states are generally viewed by experts as relatively risk-free, because they deploy optical-scan technology that scans paper ballots or they have printouts of electronic ballots cast as a backup. It’s the remaining nine states that have generated concern and left room for the perception of manipulation. The vulnerabilities – and how serious they are – differ depending on the state and even the precinct.
… The voting technology in the nine states that use variations of the so-called touch screen computers is open to manipulation, experts said. Five states are entirely paperless. They are Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and New Jersey, said Pamela Smith, the president of VerifiedVoting.org. Four other states are partially paperless, and viewed by experts as vulnerable. They are Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
Florida, which halted the presidential election in 2000 with its chad-based ballots, has since gotten rid of the chads and made several other changes to improve its voting procedures across the state. VerifiedVoting.org considers Florida’s use of touch screens for voters with disabilities a concern, given the large number of elderly citizens in the state.