Three ballot initiatives have been proposed in California to require the state to allow online voting, but security experts and some voting officials say the technology is nowhere near secure enough for something so crucial as the democratic process. “When people stop me in the supermarket and ask, ‘When am I going to be able to vote on my cell phone?’ I say ‘Pretty soon—in about 20 years,’” said Dana DeBeauvoir, the county clerk for Travis County, Texas. She was one of three speakers Wednesday in a session on online voting and security issues at Enigma 2016, a computer security conference held in San Francisco. So much of daily life now happens online, including shopping, banking, communication, that voters naturally wonder why voting can’t too, said J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. who researches voting and security. However, the ongoing litany of breaches, hacks and crashes in those realms are an object lesson in why voting shouldn’t happen there. It’s just too important, he said. “Imagine the incentives of a rival country to come in and change the outcome of a vote for national leadership. Elections require correct outcomes and true ballot secrecy,” Halderman said.
… “They think ‘Hey, we can vote in our bunny slippers and it’s going to be great,’” said Pamela Smith with Verified Voting, a non-partisan non-profit organization that advocates for accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections.
The impetus behind the California ballot initiatives appears to be the belief that online balloting will mean greater voter participation, Smith said. Attempts in other countries seem to show that Internet voting only increases turn out negligibly. Efforts in Canada and Switzerland found that it only caused people to vote earlier but didn’t cause more people to actually vote, Smith told USA TODAY in an interview.
She noted the federal government spent a decade and a half and more than $100 million on a demonstration Internet voting project for military personnel overseas that included a program called SERVE, the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment. It was shut down by the Pentagon over security concerns. “They just abandoned the effort,” she said.
Full Article: Internet voting is just too hackable, say security experts.