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Applied sciences and engineering/Computer science/Cybersecurity

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.

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.

Cybersecurity experts and leading computer organizations reached out to the nation’s governors and secretaries of state on Thursday urging them to exclude use of internet voting platforms and mobile app systems that scientific evidence has verified carry vulnerabilities, security dangers and threaten voting integrity in the United States.

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. 

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.

There is currently no scientific evidence to support claims that online voting is safe or secure; other technologies are not ready for immediate deployment.

The evidence shows that the routine use of statistically driven risk-limiting audits would be the most effective way to ensure the accuracy and security of elections. With the increase in the use of technology to record and tally votes, auditing election results before they are certified can provide additional assurance of the integrity of the results.

Today many voting systems are outdated and vulnerable to interference or errors and some states and counties lack the funds to replace them. A lack of regular, ongoing funding for election security remains one of the primary concerns of election officials. Despite these challenges, election administrators across the country are working to address election security issues and many recently replaced outdated paperless machines and moved to using paper ballots.