If we were to poll the readers of this article, we would likely find that the vast majority of readers — if not all — regularly shop online, make banking transactions online, fill out registrations and applications online, pay taxes online and maybe even vote for contestants in reality shows online. Yet Americans cannot vote for candidates for public office online. … But experts warn that online voting isn’t as simple as it sounds. Even though it has already been tried in a few places around the world, it probably can’t be secured. We already worry about hackers stealing our credit cards and our identities. If we voted online, we would have to worry about hackers stealing our elections, too.… Several countries have experimented with online voting, but none has forged ahead as far as the tiny Baltic country of Estonia, where nearly a third of ballots are cast online. But Estonia’s elections don’t look anything like those of the United States, where more votes are cast in some cities than in all of Estonia. The Estonian online voter must plug a national ID card — mandatory for all Estonians older than 15, and each of which has an embedded encrypted chip — into a card reader attached to his or her computer. It sounds secure, but two independent assessments, led by Verified Voting in 2011 and the University of Michigan in 2014, found serious flaws with the system.
“What we found alarmed us,” wrote the authors of the 2014 report. “There were staggering gaps in procedural and operational security, and the architecture of the system leaves it open to cyberattacks from foreign powers, such as Russia. These attacks could alter votes or leave election outcomes in dispute. … We urgently recommend that Estonia discontinue use of the system.”
… Based on how frequently government agencies have been hacked in the past few years, chances are good that malicious actors will have little trouble getting into the networks — as the FBI recently warned may already have happened.
“There’s no way with any reasonable amount of resources that you can guarantee that the software and hardware are bug-free and that they haven’t been maliciously attacked,” Stanford computer-science professor David Dill stated in June in Futurity, a science-news website run by five dozen English-speaking universities worldwide.
Full Article: Why Can’t Americans Vote Online?.