Two weeks have passed since Utah Republicans got to vote online for the first time. Was it a success? Computer experts would say it’s impossible to know. The key to hacking an election is making sure no one knows what you’ve done. Utah GOP Chairman James Evans, however, says yes. “I think we had tremendous success,” he told me Tuesday by phone. About 27,000 people cast ballots that way. People, mostly LDS missionaries, voted from 45 countries. He is planning to recommend to the Republican Central Committee that online voting happen again in 2020, if there is a presidential caucus.
This does not, however, mean we’re any closer to voting on our smartphones in a primary or general election. As Evans is quick to note, the Republican Party is a private entity, not a government.
You may have noticed that parties put their own stamp on the presidential nomination process, from the Democratic “super delegates” to the different ways each state decides how to divvy up delegates to the way many Republicans hope to broker a convention outcome that makes all previous voting more or less irrelevant.
… A report last month on wired.com said Utah’s online voting was giving security experts “heart attacks.” The publication quoted experts who said the system could be vulnerable to people who attack personal computers or devices and send them to hoax sites, or that they could initiate a “denial of service attack” against a geographic area where people are more likely to vote for one candidate over another.