The last US presidential election brought the vulnerabilities of election grids to the fore. During the elections and after the race had ended, reports began to flood Western media revealing the attempts by Russian government-connected actors to influence the US electoral system. This included hacking suppliers of software used in digital voting machines, along with organizing the infamous troll armies that conducted social engineering operations in the hopes of swaying voters. Signs of threat actors targeting election-related assets has persisted. In mid-December, local US media reported that personal details of over 19 million California voters ended up in the hands of hackers after being stolen from an insecure cloud server. Hackers who had penetrated the cloud had deleted all of the content and left a message on the account demanding ransom money in Bitcoin for its return. The database contained personal details of these individuals, including contact and voting precinct information. The technology used in elections has also been shown to contain serious vulnerabilities. At a recent DEF CON hackers conference in Las Vegas, participants were able to pull off a number of hacks on several commonly used voting machines, including gaining remote access.
… The trend of election security measures does more than threaten state government autonomy in their electoral processes; it could produce a complete revamping of election systems throughout the United States, with security from foreign meddling now becoming the top priority.
Scanning some of the trends in election security, a few specific changes to the electoral system could be expected. The first might be the complete abandonment of digital vote casting, resorting instead to paper ballots that can be marked and identified by every individual voter. Some states have already begun to independently adopt this measure.
Another could be the establishment of federal committees in charge of overseeing elections and sampling votes post election to confirm the accuracy of the ballots count. This was one of the features that stood out in another recently proposed bill, the Secure Elections Act, a piece of legislation quitely brought to the floor at the end of December by a bipartisan group of Senators. Even if the specific recommendations of the Act do not end up becoming law, the prospect of federal oversight becoming a dominant feature of US elections is looking like a very real possibility.