Dr. Vanessa Teague is one frustrated cryptographer. A researcher at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Teague has twice demonstrated massive security flaws in the online voting systems used in state elections in Australia — including one of the largest deployments of online voting ever, the 2015 New South Wales (NSW) state election, with 280,000 votes cast online. The response? Official complaints about her efforts to university administrators, and a determination by state election officials to keep using online voting, despite ample empirical proof, she says, that these systems are not secure.
While insecure voting machines have received most of the attention since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, states and municipalities continue to use — even enthusiastically adopt — web-based online voting, including 31 states in the U.S., two provinces in Canada, and two states in Australia. Wales in the UK is pushing hard for online voting. The country of Estonia uses online voting for its national elections.
Security researchers point out flaws; election officials get angry and ignore security issues that threaten the integrity of the voting results. Teague’s story repeats itself around the world.