Overseas voting in 24 states vulnerable to hackers, report says
Nearly half of states using electronic voting systems for overseas and military voters are vulnerable to hackers, a report released Wednesday said. And in 16 states, at least some polling places are using electronic voting machines that don't produce a paper backup, which could complicate a recount.
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Twelve years after the weeks-long hubbub over vote-counting in Florida in 2000 that led to a national debate about voting mechanisms, the system hasn't made voting procedures fail-proof, according to a state-by-state report released Wednesday.
Almost half of states use voting systems for overseas and military voters that could be susceptible to hackers, says the report by Rutgers Law School and two good-governance groups: Common Cause Education Fund and the Verified Voting Foundation. Dozens of states lack proper contingency plans, audit procedures or voting machines that produce backup paper records in case something goes wrong.
Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina are least prepared to catch problems and protect voter enfranchisement, the study showed. Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin are in the best shape.
Twenty-four states let overseas and military voters return their ballots through electronic means — such as the Internet, email or fax — that could fall victim to hackers or infringe on the right to a secret ballot. When the District of Columbia experimented with an online voting system in 2010, hackers broke in and changed votes to fictional characters.
In 16 states, at least some polling places are using electronic voting machines — largely put in place to eliminate the hanging-chad issue of 2000 — that don't produce a paper record as a backup. That means there's no independent way to verify the voter's intention if the machine malfunctions or a recount is necessary.
With Election Day less than four months away, there's little states can do to correct the problems before Nov. 6.
But the report's authors said many states are already moving to ensure their voting systems have as little vulnerability as possible.