After the “hanging chad” fiasco during the 2000 presidential recount, many states and counties switched to electronic-only voting machines to modernize their systems. Now, amid security concerns over Russian hackers targeting state voting systems in last year’s election, there’s a renewed focus on shifting to paper ballots. In Virginia, election officials decided last month to stop using paperless touch-screen machines, in an effort to safeguard against unauthorized access to the equipment and improve the security of the state’s voting system. In Georgia, which uses electronic voting machines with no paper record, legislators are discussing getting rid of their aging equipment and using paper ballots instead. In a municipal election this November, officials will test a hybrid electronic-paper system. “States and counties were already moving toward paper ballots before 2016,” said Katy Owens Hubler, a consultant to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “But the Russian hacking incident has brought the spotlight to this issue.”
In September, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified election officials in nearly two dozen states that their voter registration systems had been targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election.
While the hackers failed to breach most of the systems, in Illinois, they succeeded in accessing the voter database, and nearly 90,000 records were compromised. And in Arizona, hackers stole an election employee’s username and password, but the system wasn’t compromised, according to the Arizona secretary of state.
The National Association of Secretaries of State said would-be attackers tried to “scan” state computer systems last year, looking for open doors into networks. The secretaries of state, who serve as chief election officials in most states, said no voter information was altered or deleted, and the intruders did not access actual voting machines or devices that tabulate results.
Full Article: Russian Hacking Fuels Return to Paper Ballots.