Better safe than sorry. That’s the Dutch government’s approach to dealing with the fear of Russian election hacking. The tech-savvy country scaled back the use of computers to count votes and opt for an all-paper, all-manual election this month. It is one of the more drastic responses to a threat that France and Germany, which also hold elections this year, have also started to grapple with. The Dutch government has known about some of the vulnerabilities in the voting software since 2006 and banned electronic voting in 2007, but has been publicly — and frequently — reminded ever since by academics and hackers of vulnerabilities in the software used to count the votes. A decade later, the country hasn’t come up with a secure tech system to cast and count votes.
It was only after the U.S. blamed Russia for hacking during the presidential election cycle last year that the Netherlands announced it was dropping computers entirely. The country’s almost 13 million voters will line up March 15 at more than 9,000 polling stations to tick the box for their candidate with pencils, and these votes will be counted by hand. It’s unclear how long it will take officials to get it done.
“I don’t want a shadow of doubt over the result in a political climate like the one we know today,” Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said. “I can imagine some party or professor somewhere will say there is a remaining risk that it was hacked. “And that would keep haunting the election outcome.”
Dutch officials fear Russian meddling following years of tensions with Moscow. The countries have sparred diplomatically over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines civilian airplane in 2014 by a surface-to-air missile, allegedly launched by Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine, that killed 298 people, most of them Dutch. Some Dutch officials saw a Russian hand in last year’s referendum on an EU treaty with Ukraine, which voters here rejected.
Full Article: Dutch go old school against Russian hacking – POLITICO.