In 2020, Some Americans Will Vote On Their Phones. Is That The Future? – For decades, the cybersecurity community has had a consistent message: Mixing the Internet and voting is a horrendous idea.

30 comments

  1. happybarfday

    |Author

    But it’s okay that we rely on the internet to our banking, handle medical claims and all types of insurance, trade stocks, etc etc etc, all of which involves hundreds thousands of dollars and things affect each of our lives more than our one vote does? Haven’t we been hearing for years about how the current voting machines are all shitty and prone to hacking and fraud and stuff? How will this be any worse? Is there nothing to be said for the fact that it’s likely to increase voter participation and access, which has always been shitty?

  2. Speeddevil

    |Author

    I understand everyone says this is a bad idea. But is there no way to make it safer with modern encryption? Maybe make the user verify with a social and PIN number? The ways to verify are near endless.

    I’m not naïve enough to think every method is fool proof. Even with traditional voting methods, at least where I’m at you need an ID to vote. What would keep someone from making a fake id and pretending to be me?

    I think there needs to be a way to verify after the election, that your vote counted for the person or law change that you voted for. If it wasn’t, then there should be a team to launch a full scale investigation, for phone, electronic, and paper voting. As far as I know, there is no way for me to personally verify that my vote went towards the person I intended, or didn’t end up in a paper shredder before it was counted. Once I leave the voting booth, it is out of my hands, and I can only hope.

    So far, I think I’m in the only person that looks forward to voting on my phone, but only if I can verify afterwards.

  3. Why is everyone in this thread framing the question as paper vs digital? Imo this is a false dilemma.

    Use both to get the best of both worlds.

    Paper offers security, which is a big deal. However, paper *only* can make it harder to use alternative (and most likely superior) voting systems like Ranked Choice among many others. Not impossible, but for large voting populations anything other than first past the post (our current shitty method) or approval voting necessarily entails more manpower and time. This is not insurmountable, but a consideration.

    Digital only has huge security risks. This is obvious to everyone in this thread. However some folks like the Estonians have had success for years, so it’s not impossible either.

    So why not both? Optical scanning exists, is fast, and strong security methods have been invented for use. This would allow digital tabulation for quick calculation of alternative (superior) voting methods that would be intensive and slow by hand. Mandating that records both (encrypted) digital and hard copy be kept, and mandatory audits using paper ballots to verify integrity of the digital system would provide a backstop against digital mischief. If a problem arose, you could always revert to a total hand count. The digital programs used need to be publically/government owned, not a private unknowable black box where anything could happen. This is one reason folks talk about block chain, the math and process would be independently verifiable. Keeping votes confidential would be more difficult, I’ll leave it to the math and computer folks here but am told it is doable.

    Imo trust in our electoral system is at a low, and this is one of several crises in our democracy. But this isn’t an unsolvable one.

  4. SwimAnarchy

    |Author

    Voting machines are an oligopoly, so about 85% of machines produced for American voting are made by 3 companies. Most of the machines run on Windows Vista, XP and 7. 7 is going out of support next January and is only being extended by Microsoft for this reason. The market is so heavily regulated it is impossible to get into the market or make innovations. The only hope we have right now to not face a total voting crisis in 2020 is https://electos.org/ They’re working on open source public voting operating systems. Voting over the internet isn’t outrageous, not feasible at the moment but not to be scared of.

  5. All forms of voting are subject to manipulation. Granted, digital would be the easiest to manipulate and is subject to a much larger base of potential manipulators, but let’s not fool ourselves, there is no true safe form of voting.

  6. pbmcc88

    |Author

    Increasing the exposure of our political process to digital interference, when we already know how bad the exposure it already has has proven, is a ******* moronic idea.

  7. phatboye

    |Author

    The day that the US starts holding elections on mobile devices will be the same day that the Russian government funds a Russian national company to run a mobile Telecom in America. The sad part is that people will switch to “Russiatelco” because it will invariably be cheaper than AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint/T-Mobile

  8. known_hosts

    |Author

    I get the idea of wanting overseas military to be able to vote via the internet, but the general public would be an obvious mistake. We shouldn’t be focusing on developing apps for this, the technology just isn’t ready for this in terms of security.

    Plus they could solve the military issue by collecting the votes in a file and creating an SSH connection through the military’s secure network and sending that **** over using scp. It’d be harder to organize how the voting would actually work in relation to public voting rather than sending the information securely.

  9. I’m a technologist and work in large data.
    Voting should be a traceable paper ballot and we should all have our fingers dipped in ink when we cast our vote, just like when elections are first held in third world countries. That’s the best and most secure system.

  10. This is a horrible idea without the proper technology and security features. If every citizen had an ID with a smart chip in it capable of doing message signing and the ballot itself was signed before the voter was able to cast their vote I could see a possible way of this working properly. But right now there are no states (that I know of) that have this technology which means that their relying on their servers not being compromised, internet connection being secure, no proxies or MITM attackers being between them and the voter and a whole bunch of other things. Right now this is a horrible idea.

  11. SharpieKing69

    |Author

    The government in general hasn’t been able to fully secure on-site computers used in elections and even the biggest tech companies still can’t stop regular data breaches. This idea was probably proposed by someone who regularly asks their nephew how to use their email.

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