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Applied sciences and engineering/Computer science

As states grapple with the difficult task of holding elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, election administrators are exploring and implementing technology to deliver blank ballots electronically. The expansion of vote by mail in many states necessitates an option for voters with disabilities. These recommendations can help limit the security and privacy risks introduced with electronic blank ballot delivery and remote electronic ballot marking.

On May 13, 2020, AAAS Caribbean, Puerto Rican Minds in Action, the Puerto Rico Science Policy Action Network, Ciencia Puerto Rico, and the American Civil Liberties Union Puerto Rico held the Science and Public Policy Discussion: Implications and Risks of Internet Voting in the Puerto Rico Election Reform Act 2020.

All internet voting systems and technologies — including email and mobile voting apps — are currently inherently insecure. There is no technical evidence that any internet voting technology is safe or can be made so in the foreseeable future; all research to date demonstrates the opposite.

The nation’s leading experts in cybersecurity, computing, and science called on Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors to refrain from allowing the use of any internet voting or voting app system in U.S. elections. An open letter prepared by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues and endorsed by leading organizations and experts in cybersecurity and computing highlights two decades of rigorous, science-based analysis which clearly demonstrates that internet voting is not a secure solution for voting in the U.S., nor will it be in the foreseeable future.

Letter from AAAS EPI Center and leading experts in cybersecurity and computing warns of the insecurity of online voting, internet voting and voting apps, sent April 9, 2020. 

The recanvass of votes in the Kentucky gubernatorial race highlights the importance of key scientific evidence regarding election security and integrity, specifically the need for paper ballots and statistically sound post-election audits to inspire confidence in election results. In a race that may be determined by a few thousand votes, election officials cannot conduct a recount because Kentucky’s voting machines are entirely electronic and paperless. Instead, Kentucky county election officials will submit certified vote forms based on totals tabulated by the voting machines themselves and absentee ballots.

As voters head to the polls today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (EPI Center) warns that action is needed at the local, state, and federal levels to strengthen election security.

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