National: America’s Love Affair with Paperless Voting Is Over. Here’s Why | Luca Ropek/Government Technology
Before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) took over as the single biggest threat to the 2020 presidential election, the security of state voting infrastructure was chief among the concerns held by many elected officials. Since 2016, foreign interference in American elections has been a critical concern, and direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting systems — or paperless voting machines — are increasingly viewed as a critical target that foreign adversaries might exploit. Touchscreen and electronic, the machines were once considered the most efficient, credible means to tabulate elections, but over the years many facets of them — in particular their lack of an auditable paper trail — have led experts to warn against their adoption. Hackers could gain entry, change votes and sway elections, cyberprofessionals fear. Here’s a look at how DREs became such a prominent fixture of U.S. voting infrastructure, and why they have since seen a precipitous decline in use as states ditch them for old-fashioned paper.