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More Than 30 States Offer Online Voting, but Experts Warn It Isn't Secure

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Voters cast their ballots at a polling place on May 3 in Whiting, IN.

Despite expert views that online voting systems are still insecure, more than 30 states plan to host them by the time of the U.S. presidential election in November.

Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

More than 30 states will be hosting online voting systems by the time of the U.S. presidential election, but experts warn such systems are still insecure and will likely continue to be for years to come.

"Online voting in large scale...introduces great risk into the election system by threatening voters' expectations of confidentiality, accountability, and security of their votes and provides an avenue for malicious actors to manipulate the voting results," says Neil Jenkins with the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Advocates of online voting cite its convenience and its potential to boost voter turnout, but Jenkins says these benefits are far outweighed by the risks, which include undetectable vote and election rigging, and privacy and confidentiality infringement if votes are intercepted or stolen from servers.

Verified Voting president Pamela Smith supports more traditional voting, noting "when something is online, you don't have that physical record of voter intent."

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Ron Rivest says hackers, including foreign nations, could tamper with U.S. elections because states have no means of protecting their online voting systems.

Last year, a Utah task force cited online voting's security risks as too high, noting although companies may accept security breaches "as the cost of doing business, an election cannot."

From The Washington Post
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