In early August, Donald Trump began expressing fear that the U.S. presidential election would be “rigged” against him. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” Trump told an audience in Columbus, Ohio. While much has been written about his remarks—as well as several others he made in the weeks following the Democratic National Convention—it remains an open question whether electronic databases storing votes can be hacked and manipulated. Voting has entered the digital era on two fronts. Electronic voting machines and, in some locations, Internet voting have introduced numerous opportunities for hackers to alter voting records. It is the security of massive spreadsheets recording the will of the people that concerns Richard Forno, a computer security expert who recently thrust himself into the national debate over the hackability of U.S. elections by publishing a column on the subject. “Everyone’s focusing on the edges of the network, the voting machines, but no one’s looking at the databases,” Forno, a career computer security expert and currently the director of the Graduate Cybersecurity Program at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, tells The Parallax.
… Election departments contacted for this story, including those in California and Illinois, did not return requests for comment. However, Chris Jerdonek, a software developer who serves as vice president of the Elections Commission in San Francisco, a seven-member board of appointees who oversee the city’s elections, says transparency would help detect election database hacking.“There’s no surefire way to prevent hacking,” he says, “but if you’ve got good auditing procedures in place, you can catch any tampering.”
Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a nongovernmental organization that works on ensuring election “accuracy, integrity, and verifiability,” says her organization recommends disconnecting from the Internet the computer on which election databases (used to tally up voting precinct data) are stored, a practice known as air-gapping because the computer is separated from the Internet by an air buffer. “If someone could get access to that central tabulator, that could be problematic,” she says.
An interactive map produced by Verified Voting shows how U.S. voting precincts have implemented electronic voting. According to the map, five states—Georgia, Delaware, Louisiana, New Jersey, and South Carolina—do not require a paper trail to accompany their electronic voting records. Were vote tabulation databases to be tampered with in those states, Smith says, it would be impossible to reconstruct voters’ intent.
Full Article: Can your vote be hacked—after you cast it? – The Parallax.