The latest reporting regarding the scope of attempted Russian cyber-interference in the 2016 presidential election suggests election officials made a mistake in ending efforts to recount the contest in key states. Those recounts offered the best opportunity to identify and resolve issues that are now coming to light. We should study our errors to avoid repeating them — and to make sure recounts in the future are better at detecting hacking and other threats. Post-election efforts to recount the 2016 presidential vote did not get far. For example, the Michigan recount was shut down after just three days; a federal judge rejected a request to recount paper ballots in Pennsylvania; and while Wisconsin did conduct a recount, in many counties, officials neglected to hand-count paper ballots and did not examine vulnerable software in electronic voting machines. Just as Donald Trump continues to resist the finding that Russia manipulated our democratic process, he furiously contested the need to investigate the vote. His campaign and the Republican Party engaged in court battles to block the recounts in all three states. The exact outcome varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the bottom line was the same.
While no one should yet jump to the conclusion that Russian efforts to manipulate the vote were successful in changing its outcome, the risks were, in retrospect, sufficient to merit heightened scrutiny. We knew that the Russians had engaged in untoward activity. We were aware, too, that American elections are not as secure as they should be.
One clear area of vulnerability then and now is our reliance on electronic voting machines and vote tabulating machines without conducting any meaningful post-election audits. Like any other technology, these devices can fail in unexpected ways. They can have bugs that might produce an incorrect result. When irregularities occur in an election — such as the approximately 84,000 ballots in Michigan on which there were reportedly no selections marked for president — we need to see if an error is to blame.
What’s worse, according to Verified Voting, a organization that advocates for transparency in elections, in America, almost a quarter of voting machines do not leave a paper record of votes cast — meaning that if a glitch or error occurs, there are no physical votes to cross-check. They effectively vanish just as they are cast. That’s why these machines are banned in many states and elsewhere around the world, including in Germany.
Full Article: For fair elections … can we get a recount? (opinion) – CNN.