France has joined the U.S. and other countries as a victim of hacking and fraudulent postings in various political systems. These activities are only tangentially related to Internet voting, which I continue to advocate. Unfortunately, the fear arising out of the hacking is holding back progress toward modern voting. We must not forget in 2012 and again in 2016, approximately 100 million people who could have voted did not. The number one reason was difficulty getting to the polls.
The United States Constitution gave the States the responsibility for administering elections. Forty members of the National Assocation of Secretaries of State (NASS) provide guidance on how to carry out the responsibilities. NASS published Key Facts and Findings on Cybersecurity and Foreign Targeting of the 2016 U.S. Elections in late March. I consider the report a mixed bag. A few of the most important highlights show:
The November 2016 election was NOT HACKED
The Russian intrusions into state and local election boards in 2016 did not involve systems used in vote tallying.
Less than half of states took advantage of cybersecurity assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The disappointing part of the report to me was the conclusion “highly-decentralized, low-connectivity elections process” is a safeguard from large-scale cyberattacks. Press coverage of the report said, “this sensible, forthright statement by this association, most of whose members are state-level chiefs of elections, will lead to an end of advocacy for Internet voting and other forms of paperless electronic voting.”
Yes, the decentralization is a positive, but it can be made even more positive with careful, well planned, secure, private, verifiable mobile Internet voting with blockchain technology. At this point, I have to say fear is winning out over strengthening of our democracy. The fear is being accentuated by anti-Internet voting activists, not the Russians. Read much more about the security and benefits of mobile Internet voting in Election Attitude.