September 14, 2016

Question of the Week: Are U.S. Voting Machines Vulnerable to Russian Hackers?

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

After the 2000 election’s infamous “hanging chad” debacle, most states moved to electronic voting machines with the hope they would provide a secure and reliable voting method.  Unfortunately, computer experts describe these machines as laughably easy to hack.  News that Russian hackers obtained voter-registration files and perpetrated the DNC hack makes U.S. security experts concerned about Russia’s ultimate goals.  Given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declared love of Donald Trump and hatred of Hillary Clinton, the voting machines’ vulnerability has become a focal point for concern.

Because voting machines are manufactured by private companies, most notably Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software or ES&S, many of the technologies are patented.  The companies seem to be reluctant to share what they consider their intellectual property with government analysts wishing to test them.  This limits the government’s ability to ensure the privately owned technology is safe.  The government’s efforts to check the weaknesses of the voting system are further hamstrung by the different ways each jurisdiction implements electronic voting.  Some jurisdictions do not create paper records against which electronic votes can be checked.  These are the most vulnerable localities for hackers, should someone wish to interfere with the election—and some local jurisdictions in key swing states like Florida are on that list.

What do you think?

Are U.S. Voting Machines Vulnerable to Russian Hackers?

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