A vote is an act of conscience and will. It’s also an act of trust. You’re not just marking a ballot for your candidate of choice, your signifying your belief in the system. Your mark will be counted. Your voice will be heard. However, as we prepare to elect a new U.S. president, the American electorate is faced with the unnerving possibility that the results could be hacked and that sacred trust could be broken. At risk, the election system itself. … According to Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist for the Center for Democracy and Technology, voting systems are not “not connected to internet and…the diversity of system themselves poses a problem for anyone who wants to hack our elections. To attack them in a way to change votes would be quite difficult.” It’s the systems that support the election process that has them, the U.S. government and cyber-security experts worried. “To me, [our elections] look like a giant bulls eye with a U.S. flag in the center. Russian hackers will take aim. The recent DNC hack is clear evidence that hostile nation states can and will attempt to influence the U.S. presidential contest,” said Steve Morgan, founder of the cyber security research firm CyberSecurity Ventures. Perhaps the scarier question is not if they will try to influence our elections, but how.
An attack that generates fear and uncertainty could be enough to hack the elections, said Hall. For example, sending a text to voters warning of violence at polling places (even when there is none), could keep voters away from the polls for hours or even completely. In an election where voter turnout could play a crucial role, spreading fear and confusion among those who may have only a limited window to actually vote is a real concern.
There’s also the potential that someone could hack the systems that manage the voter rolls, some of which are traditional computers. “If the laptops crash or don’t boot up and there’s no paper backup [for the voter rolls], that’s definitely something that will shut down voting for a number of hours,” said Hall.
… Rice University Computer Science Professor and voting systems expert Dan Wallach said it’s unlikely that nation-state actors like Russia, which may have been behind the DNC hack, will send anyone to attack these systems at a local level. He added, though, “Nation-state actors are very patient. They wait for that one moment that a system is connected to the Internet, maybe to download an update, that’s all they need.”
Full Article: In ballots we trust: E-voting, hacking and the 2016 election.