To help Americans stay at home and in good health amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many legislators and citizens alike have lobbied for mail-in-ballots. Presently, 32 of the 50 US states offer voting via fax, e-mail or online portal, albeit this is largely limited to voters with special circumstances.
What do security experts say about online voting?
“We collectively, the computer security community, have been looking at online voting systems for decades, and it’s considered an open problem,” says Dan Wallach, a computer science professor at Rice University. Online voting is vulnerable to hacking. Foreign interference could come into play. Audits of previous electronic elections show that plenty of security vulnerabilities exist.
In February, security flaws in the Voatz online ballot system were discovered by MIT researchers. Voatz is currently pursuing a case with the Supreme Court regarding who should or should not be authorized to search for security vulnerabilities. See Cyber Talk’s past coverage of this case.
According to Voatz, “100% of the known attempts to tamper with live election systems have been thwarted successfully.” Another group stated that “sending a ballot, hosted and secured in a federally approved cloud environment, is much more secure than using fax machines or email attachments.” And notably, Estonia has been holding online elections since 2005.
But for the US, “Right now, online elections are an academic research project,” says Wallach. For more about online voting, visit CNBC.