Calls for paper-based voting to replace computer-based systems at the DEF CON hacker conference have intensified in the wake of a wave of voting machine hacks earlier this month. … “It’s undeniably true that systems that depend on software running in a touchscreen voting machine can’t be relied on,” Voting Village organizer Matt Blaze said in a Facebook Live feed hosted by US congressmen Will Hurd (R-Texas) and James Langevin (D-R.I.), in the aftermath of the DEF CON hacks. “We need to switch to systems that don’t depend on software,” said Blaze, a renowned security expert who is a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Blaze recommends OCR-based systems using paper ballots that provide an audit trail for counting and confirming votes. … “We know that computers can be hacked. What surprised me is that they did it so quickly” with the voting machines at DEF CON, says computer scientist Barbara Simons, president of Verified Voting. “One of the things that 2016 made quite clear is that we have very vulnerable voting systems and we don’t do a good job” of protecting them, Simons says. “So we exposed ourselves, and we haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect ourselves.”
Simons says the easy solution to protecting the voting system and its integrity in the US is to go to paper ballots. “You can’t hack paper,” she says. While many paper ballot voting systems are counted by optical scanners, those software-based systems can be hacked as well, she notes. “It’s fine to use [OCRs], but you need to check them” by correlating their data with the paper ballots, she says.
Verified Voting says the machines should be “immediately replaced” with ones that require that the voter mark a paper ballot, and that post-election ballots are audited in all locations. A few states already use some form of paper balloting, Simons notes, including New Hampshire, which manually counts ballots, and California, which offers a “broken-arrow” ballot, where voters with a pen connect the arrow to their vote.
Full Article: Voting System Hacks Prompt Push for Paper-Based Voting.