Letter: Focus on Russia Takes Heat Off Multitude of Election Vulnerabilities

A few days ago a Washington Post article, repeated in the Hartford Courant, focused on election risks from our current enemy of choice, Russia <read>.  Here is my letter, published in the Courant today:

Many Election Security Risks

The Sept. 6 article “U.S. Fears Russia Hack” [Page 1] provides an inflammatory view of the risks to U.S. elections. Focusing on one potential risk from our current enemy of choice takes the attention off the multitude of risks.

The truth is that there is no more or less risk to elections this year than in the recent past. The bad news is that the risks of election skullduggery are significant and do not come only from one adversary. A report from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure technology says it all: “Hacking Elections is Easy!” The report discusses how our election infrastructure, from voting machines to registration and reporting systems, are all at risk.

In Connecticut, like most states, a disruption in our centralized voter registration system on Election Day or its compromise before voter lists are printed, would disrupt an election. In many municipalities, voted ballots are easily accessible to multiple single individuals, “protected” only by all but useless tamper-evident seals. Partisans run our elections from top to bottom. Most are of high integrity, yet there is high motivation for manipulation.

We can do much better in the long run, if the actual risks are not forgotten after November.


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