Society deems the voting process so important that it must be 100 percent reliable. We may tolerate failures with our cars and computers, but not our elections. The degree to which an election is free and fair is the very heart of our representative form of democracy in the United States. Technological advancements that might make the voting process more efficient or convenient could also chip away at that integrity, which requires a voting system that is available, secure, and verifiable. At an early October panel discussion on internet voting hosted by the Atlantic Council, Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, addressed voting system availability. “If the equipment should happen to break down, you need something else to vote on to replace it. Otherwise people are disenfranchised by that malfunction,” she said. … “Any voting system that you use has to be able to demonstrate clearly to the loser and their supporters that they lost,” Smith said. “And to do that, you need actual evidence. Voters need to be able to see that their votes were captured the way that they meant for them to be and election officials need to be able to use that evidence to demonstrate that votes were counted correctly.”
… The country of Estonia has probably moved the furthest toward implementing internet voting in national elections. About 20 percent of all votes cast in recent Estonian elections have been online. But the team of electronic-voting and computer-security experts that examined the Estonian elections found many vulnerabilities and came away unconvinced. J. Alex Halderman is a computer science professor at the University of Michigan and headed the Estonian election team. “In my assessment, no country in the world today can do internet voting safely. And it’s going to be a decade, if ever, before we’re able to solve some of the central security problems at stake,” Halderman said.The verdict seems to be in: When it comes to maintaining election integrity, low tech trumps personal convenience—at least for the foreseeable future.