The Institute for Southern Studies compiled research on states’ election security and concluded that many states, including Louisiana, urgently need to improve. The recommendation follows months of research on the part of federal and state lawmakers as well as voting security experts, who began assessing the vulnerability of election procedures after Department of Homeland Security officials notified 21 states that Russian hackers had attempted to infiltrate their election systems during the 2016 presidential election. In Illinois, hackers successfully accessed voter registration information for tens of thousands of voters. … The Institute’s index includes extensive research from the Center for American Progress, which gave Louisiana a “D” grade for its voting security in an election security report released in February 2018, based in part on the state’s continued use of paperless electronic voting machines. Election security experts recommend that states use machines that create ballots as votes are cast, which can be counted in a post-election audit to detect potential manipulation of votes.
The report also estimated that the state’s voter registration system is at least ten years old, making it more vulnerable to hacking (although the system does receive routine cybersecurity updates and maintenance). Louisiana also allows absentee voters to return ballots electronically, which the Center for American Progress describes as “notoriously insecure.”
Louisiana is one of five states that lacks a paper trail for votes, and there are nine states that use some combination of paper ballots and paperless machines. Twenty-six states, including Louisiana, require no post-election audit to ensure that voting machines accurately record and count votes, according to the website Verified Voting.