The recent hacking of Democratic Party databases — and strong suspicions that the Russian government is involved — have led to new fears that America’s voting systems are vulnerable to attack and that an outsider could try to disrupt the upcoming elections. A cyberattack on U.S. elections isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Just a week and a half ago, Illinois election officials shut down that state’s voter registration database after discovering it had been hacked. In June, Arizona took its voter registration system offline after the FBI warned it too might have been hacked, although no evidence of that was found. In May, security analyst David Levin was arrested after he gained access to the Lee County, Fla., elections website. Levin said in a YouTube video he was only trying to show how vulnerable the system was: “Yeah, you could be in Siberia and still perform the attack that I performed on the local supervisor of election website. So this is very important.” The county says the problems were later fixed.
“Wherever there’s a fully electronic voting system, there’s potential for tampering of some kind,” said Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting. She says her nonprofit group has been warning about such tampering for years.
Smith says the Democratic Party hacks are another red flag that someone might try to interfere with election results, and that there are many ways to do that. “If you can get at an election management system, you could potentially alter results, or muddy up the results, or you could even just shed doubt on the outcome because you make it clear that there’s been tampering,” she says.
… Smith of Verified Voting also warns that more states are allowing overseas and military voters to cast their ballots online — another opportunity for mischief. She recommends that absentee voters send their ballots in the mail instead.