National: DNC move against phone-in caucuses pits cybersecurity vs. voter participation | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post
The Democratic National Committee’s decision to recommend scrapping phone-in virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada is pitting security hawks, who say those systems are ripe for hacking, against Democratic activists who want to increase voter participation. The DNC announcement on Friday comes after a test of the phone-in systems showed they were vulnerable to hacking, as my colleagues Isaac Stanley-Becker and Michael Scherer reported. That confirmed the suspicions of cybersecurity experts who have long argued there’s no way to ensure the authenticity of votes that aren’t cast in person — including votes cast by email, websites or mobile phones. But it was a blow to activists who want to make it easier for people to participate in the democratic process — and who say lengthy in-person caucuses exclude people who work long hours or are caring for young children. Iowa and Nevada developed their phone-in systems after the DNC urged caucus states in 2018 to either switch to primaries — which are speedier — or make it easier for people to participate remotely. The Iowa system would have allowed voters to register for a unique PIN number and use that PIN when they called in to vote for a candidate, my colleagues reported. The DNC move also sparked the ire of some 2020 presidential hopefuls.