I’m all for some advanced technology, don’t get me wrong… but it feels like since it’s inception someone, somewhere, has done everything in their power to manipulate the system in their favor… be it domestic hackers here at home or abroad.
We need to keep striving to perfect all forms of technology, to increase “hacker proofing” them as best we can but there are some systems that simply can’t be “hacked” — that carry a larger risk of tampering with… I’m talking about paper ballots.
As written for 11Alive by Glenn Harlan Reynolds:
I’ve been talking about the importance of protecting against voting-machine hacks since 2002. And now, finally, people are starting to take me seriously.
The move to paperless voting started in response to the Florida “hanging chad” fiasco in the 2000 presidential election. Some people (like me) thought this was a mistake, but such concerns were often dismissed. Now, apparently, you can’t be paranoid enough. As Politico’s Bob King noted, while 10 years ago critics of paperless voting were called paranoid, now both parties are worried.
It remains true that there is no actual evidence that a single vote was changed by hackers in the 2016 election. But even the possibility of hacking has served to promote the sort of conspiracy-mongering and political hatred that led to, for example, the shooting attack on Republican lawmakers last week. In a democratic polity, people have to believe that their votes are counted honestly, or the legitimacy of the system collapses.
And if we are to believe the latest NSA leaks on the subject, Russian (and other) hackers have been interested in American voting systems for a while, and that interest — contrary to Obama Administration assurances — didn’t decline after Obama made a “red phone” call to the Kremlin. (Perhaps even more troubling, many cyberattacks on state voting systems came from Department of Homeland Security computers.
So what should we do? Well, we could try to boost our cybersecurity, but given that the NSA, the FBI and the CIA are leaking important secrets on a daily basis, maybe we’re not up to that job. So, once again, let me suggest that we return to something that, by its very nature, can’t be hacked by a guy in St. Petersburg: Paper ballots.