The recent vote-counting delay in Harris County highlights ongoing issues with local voting systems in cities, counties and states across the country. Now, one year ahead of the 2020 presidential election, a new report warns the federal government about the security of voting infrastructure and information. The report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU specifically calls on Congress to authorize more federal oversight over private companies that are involved in manufacturing voting systems or maintaining voter databases.
While there has never been any evidence that actual votes or voter data were manipulated or changed, there is no doubt that hackers have tried to get into election systems across the country, and in some cases succeeded. A U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report found that hackers---many from overseas---targeted election systems in all 50 states during the 2016 election.
At issue is technological advancements in voting and vote-counting, which have had both a positive and negative effect on our elections. "We look for efficiency (in U.S. elections)," says Theresa Payton with the cyber security firm Fortalice Solutions. "And in looking for those efficiencies and conveniences, that's where we opened up some potential points of failure."
Payton foresees a future system that is both more universal and secure. "It may not be too much longer before we have a very secure way to cast your vote electronically, while at the same time being able to spot check to make sure that there is no fraud or security issues in the process," she tells KTRH.
In the meantime, she doesn't expect any major issues with the 2020 election, thanks to our decentralized system of voting. "There is some security through obscurity," says Payton. "In other words, the fact that we're not all voting on the same platform makes it hard for somebody who wants to create mayhem with our election security to do something at large scale."