The most secure form of voting technology remains the familiar, durable innovation known as paper, according to a report authored by a group of election experts, including two prominent scholars from MIT. The report, issued by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, is a response to the emerging threat of hackers targeting computerized voting systems, and it comes as concerns continue to be aired over the security of the U.S. midterm elections of 2018. The U.S. has a decentralized voting system, with roughly 9,000 political jurisdictions bearing some responsibility for administering elections. However, for all that variation, and while many questions are swirling around election security, the report identifies some main themes on the topic.
“There are two really important avenues that are emerging,” says Charles Stewart, the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science and founder of MIT’s Election Data and Science Lab. “One is just securing the election, and the other is building in resilience and fail-safe mechanisms.”
In this context, “securing the election” means keeping voting systems safe from hackers in the first place; fail-safe mechanisms include paper ballots that can be used for audits and recounts.
The other MIT co-author of the report is Ronald L. Rivest, a computer encryption pioneer and Institute Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Given the distinct challenges of combining anonymity at the ballot box with verification of voting, Rivest notes, a paper trail remains a necessary component of secure voting systems.
Full Article: Report outlines keys to election security | MIT News.