With cybersecurity researchers raising the specter of a cyber attack on Election Day, state and local officials are doubling down on a different message: no matter what, the final vote will be legitimate. “If there’s one message we want be heard loud and clear, it’s that these elections will be fair,” Denise Merrill, the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State and the Secretary of State of Connecticut, told TIME. “It might take longer to count every vote, there might be more hurdles, but it’ll be fair.” In the event that hackers attack voting systems, state and local officials have paper-based back-up plans in place, she said. In the event that hackers shut down larger targets, like parts of the power grid, government buildings, electrical facilities, water systems, street lights, dams or bridges, all of which are now connected to the internet, state and local election officials can implement other contingency plans, election officials told TIME.
While each state’s laws are a little different, all have legislation that allows an official—a governor, state Secretary of State, or local election clerk—to move, extend, or postpone voting in case of emergency.
In Ohio, for example, there is no statewide emergency plan, but all 88 county boards of elections have the power to switch to paper ballots or relocate polling places. In Pennsylvania, county boards can also move polling places and common pleas judges can suspend and delay voting in cases of “natural disaster or emergency.”
Full Article: The Election Will Still Go on, Even if Hackers Attack | TIME.