The Pitfalls and Vulnerabilities of Electronic Voting
When U.S. voters take to the polls Nov. 4, almost all registered voters will cast their ballots on one of three types of electronic voting machines, each of which comes with its own set of vulnerabilities and countermeasures. Direct Recording Electronic, DRE with Voter-Verified Paper Trail, and Precinct Counter Optical Scan machines each face threats to their accuracy and their security, according to the Brennan Center Task Force on Voting System Security.Almost all registered U.S. voters will cast their ballots on one of three types of electronic voting machines: Direct Recording Electronic, DRE with Voter-Verified Paper Trail, and Precinct Counter Optical Scan machines. Each has its vulnerabilities, according to the Brennan Center Task Force on Voting System Security.
WIRELESS ATTACKS Vulnerability: The Task Force found that voting machines with wireless components are significantly more vulnerable to a wide array of attacks. Currently, only two states-New York and Minnesota-ban wireless components in all voting machines. Countermeasure: Ban all voting machines with wireless elements.
PAPERLESS DREs Vulnerability: DREs without VVPTs do not have available to them a powerful countermeasure against software attacks: post-election automatic routine audits that compare paper records with electronic records. Countermeasure: Require a paper trail for every vote cast.
PAPER TRAILS Vulnerability: The voter-verified paper record, by itself, is of questionable security value. Countermeasure: The paper record has significant value only if an automatic routine audit is performed (and a well-designed chain of custody and physical security procedures is followed). Of the 26 states that mandate voter-verified paper records, only 12 require regular audits.