Last week, the Trump administration informed election officials in 21 states, including Pennsylvania, that Russian hackers targeted their election systems before last year’s presidential election, The Associated Press reported. Pennsylvania was not the only key battleground state targeted; so, too, were Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The targeting was reported to have been mostly preparatory — scanning computer systems for weaknesses that could be exploited — and to have been aimed at voter registration systems, rather than vote-tallying software. The notification “came roughly a year after U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials first said states were targeted by hacking efforts possibly connected to Russia,” the AP reported. … In 2015, the state Supreme Court rejected an appeal from voters who sought to halt the use of direct-recording electronic voting machines in Pennsylvania. Election officials say that because the machines aren’t connected to the internet, they’re safe. But they don’t produce a verifiable paper trail — which now seems like a glaring deficit.
“Some states — including Virginia and Georgia, which recently announced a pilot program to use paper ballots — hope eliminating the use of electronic ballots will reduce the threat of cyberattacks,” Governing magazine reported earlier this month.
“Moving to paper is absolutely the happening trend,” Wendy Underhill, a program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures, told that publication.
Barbara Simons told Governing she hopes other states will take note. “No elected official wants to be accused of using insecure voting technology, especially with all of the questions raised in 2016,” said Simons, president of Verified Voting, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for legislation and regulation promoting accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections.