As everybody has read in the newspapers, the recent American elections involved multiple and severe hacking attacks. Tens of thousands of confidential and private emails from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were leaked via WikiLeaks. It is thought by many that this helped Trump to win the election. Journalists from Dutch TV station RTL contacted me last week and wanted to know whether the Dutch elections could be hacked. They had been tipped off that the current Dutch electoral software used weak cryptography in certain parts of its system (SHA1). I was stunned and couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Are we still relying on computers for our voting process? The Dutch government banned electronic voting for cyber-security reasons on June 4th, 2009. We returned to using red pencil and paper and have done so ever since. … Seems pretty solid right with all the visible paper? Hold on!
RTL told me that voters use pencil and paper, and that votes are counted manually. However, for efficiency reasons the vote totals are then, for each city, entered into a computer program by election officials.
This computer program generates multiple files containing the voting total entered by the election official from each district. The data is put on a USB-stick and transferred to a higher district, and so on. In the end the central Electoral Council gets all votes combined in a digital file.
If nobody questions the (digital) results of the election, no final paper audit is performed to see if the analog and digital vote count is the same.