In September, as a result of a law I authored in 2011, California launched online voter registration. Consequently, California set a new record with 18,245,970 registered voters. More than 1 million people used the new registration system in less than a month, with moe than 780,000 citizens added to the voter file. Nearly 62 percent of those who registered online were under age 35 and four out of five registered to vote for the first time. Proudly, these individuals also voted in much higher numbers than those eligible via paper registration from previous elections. … I share this frustration but I have a fundamental optimism that the barriers to online voting can be lifted if enough research and development is devoted to solving the problem. Unfortunately, Internet voting systems are not yet ready for deployment. The National Institutes for Standards and Technology and cyber security experts at the Department of Homeland Security have reviewed the currently commercially available Internet voting systems and found that fundamental security problems have not been resolved and thus should not be used yet in our public elections.
Some of the challenges include the simple fact that even the most secure of online systems have been breached including those at the Centcomm and the FBI. In other words, in today’s cyber-security environment, even so-called secure online banking has weaknesses. Banks annually lose billions to cyber fraud and theft despite investing heavily in the most state-of-the-art cyber security tools available.
While e-commerce can tolerate a certain level of fraud, our elections cannot and should not. Accepting that 1 percent of all online transactions will be fraudulent or lost is common practice among banks and merchants. Elections, however, can be decided by less than 0.1 percent of the vote, making our democracy much less tolerant of small-scale loss or fraud. Furthermore, the Constitution safeguards the right for every eligible citizen to have their ballot count as cast — not just 99 percent of citizens.
Additionally, online banking or credit card fraud can be detected because both parties in the transaction maintain and audit account records. But we vote by secret ballot, a critical safeguard in our election process to protect against coercion and voter suppression. Currently, there are no commercially available means to reconcile the vote cast with the vote counted and there is no current mechanism for a voter to check that his or her ballot was received and counted as cast. This makes online voting especially susceptible to undetectable tampering and leaves an unacceptable means to recount ballots in extremely close elections.
Full Article: OP-ED:Technology in our electoral process.