As Washington ignores the danger, state election officials have finally begun facing up to the threat of Russian hackers and other troublemakers infiltrating the American voting process in the midterm and presidential elections. There have been months of apparent indifference in many state election offices, despite stern warnings from federal security experts that hackers will be back for more after their 2016 meddling. But now state election officials have begun trying to tighten the security of outdated, vulnerable balloting systems. These systems were last updated after the hanging-chad debacle of the 2000 election, before internet hackers were a powerful threat.
These officials have been prodded awake in part by the federal Department of Homeland Security’s cautionary designation this year of election systems as critical infrastructure, on par with the electrical grid and banking in needing special protection.
Among the states, Colorado and Rhode Island are introducing an advanced statistical system called a risk-limiting audit to protect vote tallies from falsification. West Virginia has hired a computer security expert; Delaware plans a total revamping, including junking an electronic voting system that does not leave a paper trail for verification.