Email voting? Why not, one might ask?! A lot of folks use the false analogy of online banking to argue that email voting should be allowed for the convenience and accessibility of voters. Not a moment of thought is given to the security risks involved. So I’ve done a brief Fact Sheet summarizing the major arguments against returning voted ballots via email. I’m OK with distribution of blank ballots via email but not the return of voted ballots by the same method.
Oregon, like many other states, considering authorizing email return of ballots — the bill is HB 3074 and this post is directed toward that proposed law, but could effectively be applied to a host of other states which are considering similar legislation (or perhaps need to review already adopted laws in light of these arguments).
HB 3074 as drafted would permit both the email distribution of blank ballots AND the email return of voted ballots. While the email distribution of blank ballots has some limited manageable security risks, the email return of voted ballots poses serious risks to the integrity and security of Oregon’s elections that are not easily addressed.
Email voting is worse than touchscreen voting – according the cyber security expert David Jefferson, PhD, computer scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Oregon has been savvy enough to avoid touchscreen machines and insist on paper ballots and should continue to do so. Email voting does not provide a voter-verified paper ballot.