The United States presidential election is a complex, drawn-out affair. After months of raucous campaigning at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars, the lengthy voting process to choose Barack Obama’s successor finally got underway with the Iowa caucuses. Once the two main political parties – Democratic and Republican – choose their respective nominees through party-sponsored contests in each of the states and overseas territories, the process of electing the 45th President of the United States in the general elections scheduled for November will begin. But how secure is the all-important process of marking and casting ballots and then collecting and counting them? Could the use of outdated electronic voting systems with dubious safety controls compromise the integrity of the entire electoral process, or is the threat exaggerated?
… In April last year, the Virginia State Board of Elections imposed a ban on touchscreen DRE voting, after it emerged that the AVS WinVote machines – used in nearly a quarter of its precincts in the 2014 election – had gaping security holes. “If an election was held using the AVS WinVote, and it wasn’t hacked, it was only because no one tried,” Jeremy Epstein, senior computer scientist at SRI International in Arlington, wrote at the time in a scathing assessment of the voting system.
… Speaking to IBTimes UK, Epstein said that several states moved towards safer optical scanning systems – which involve an optical scanner reading hand-marked paper ballots – since the debacle in Virginia. “However, many states are still rushing headlong into internet voting, not understanding that they’re making the same mistake as was made a decade ago with WinVote – simply taking the word of the vendors that the systems are safe is a recipe for disaster,” he warned. “While I doubt that any of the internet voting systems are quite as bad as WinVote, I have no doubt that the first serious effort to compromise any of them will succeed rapidly and with relatively minimal effort.
“The fact is that scientists and engineers do not know how to build a secure internet voting system, full stop. Anyone who claims otherwise is just wrong – and I say that from a background of 30 years in the security business.”
Full Article: Could the US election really be hacked?.