Election watchdog groups are worried about the role electronically submitted ballots in Alaska might play in the state’s two tight federal elections. Ballots returned online are vulnerable to cyberattacks and lack a proper paper trail, said government accountability advocate Common Cause and election oversight group Verified Voting. Alaska’s gubernatorial and Senate races have both dragged on long after Election Day, with opponents split by narrow margins. Early Wednesday, The Associated Press declared former Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan (R) the winner over incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), even though 30,000 ballots remain uncounted. Begich has yet to concede. Former Valdez, Alaska, Mayor Bill Walker (I) maintains a thin lead over incumbent Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R), although the race remains too close to call. If either race “is to be determined by ballots sent over the Internet, its legitimacy is in doubt,” said Verified Voting President Pamela Smith.
… According to a warning on the state’s site, voters returning ballots online “are assuming the risk that a faulty transmission may occur.” This shows election officials “are accepting that the ballots received at the elections office may not be legitimate,” said Susannah Goodman, director of the Voting Integrity Project at Common Cause. “If voters saw a warning like that in a polling place there would be outrage.”
Computer security researchers have noted there’s simply no way to secure the Internet. … “I’m a technologist, but I’m not in favor of Internet voting,” said Michael Shamos, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who has examined computerized voting systems in six states.