“Internet voting” means different things to different people. To many folks, it might mean “click a button, submit, done.” To some—and for our purposes—it means anytime a voted ballot is transmitted in any way, shape or form via the Internet. Whatever the definition, computer scientists tell us that secure online voting is still many years, or even decades, away. For now, they say, using the Internet to return voted ballots can’t be done with confidence. Like it or not, Internet voting is on the minds of legislators and other policymakers. We say that, based on the 13 states that have had legislation in 2015 that deals in some way with permitting Internet voting. Only one has been enacted, Maine SB 552. So voters’ needs and technical expectations may push policymakers toward Internet voting—and at the same time security concerns are holding it back.
Every teen says “What do you mean, I can’t vote on my phone?” Besides that sentiment, several trends make using the Internet to facilitate voting attractive. Merle King, executive director of Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems, is not a proponent for Internet voting—but he is a realist. He notes the importance of identifying these trends so that a jurisdiction doesn’t suddenly find itself in the online voting business, on short notice, without a plan.
… If you talk to security experts about the possibility of safely voting online, they will almost universally tell you that it’s not possible—at least not yet. J. Alex Halderman, a computer scientist from the University of Michigan, notes that “The risks of Internet voting are extremely severe. We will need to make fundamental progress in Internet security before it can be done securely.” Based on NCSL’s conversations with Halderman and others, below is a list of the many ways an online voting system could be compromised. If used on a large scale, such a system could provide a particularly attractive target for nefarious actors both inside and outside the United States.
Full Article: States and Election Reform | The Canvass: July 2015.