Access and Feeds

Technology: Securing the 2020 US Elections

By Dick Weisinger

US Elections at all levels have been under siege the past few years. Everyone agrees that there’s been a problem, but it isn’t totally clear what the true extent of it has been. How safe are we?

We know the Russians are involved. But attempts to tamper are probably just not limited to them.

CISA Director Chris Krebs said that “the Russians never left in 2016. They continue to engage in this broad, large scale disinformation influence operations.”

Some ways in which elections are being attacked include:

  • Voting machines that are outdated and can be subject to DNS attacks and malware.
  • Campaigns to remove individuals from registration lists, change their poll location, or mark them as already having voted.
  • Hacks into election websites to change published voting times and locations as well as the status of registrations.
  • Dissemination of inaccurate information prior to voting and during the result reporting process.

Other vulnerabilities are explored in this InfoGraphic.

David Levine, a former elections supervisor, said that “the perception of interference can be as dangerous as interference — the administration of elections need to be as seamless as possible. Long lines at polling places can mean people choosing to leave lines and not vote, or not vote in future … it has the ability to undermine the democratic process and play into the hands of foreign adversaries.”

What can be done? We need positive changes that include bringing in more cybersecurity experts, replacing outdated voting hardware, and setting up a system where all votes can be audited. The question is whether it can be done in time for elections in November.

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