In an already topsy-turvy presidential campaign, the recent breaches of Democratic Party computer networks have fueled fears about potential foreign meddling and raised questions about how secure the electronic systems that record and tally votes across the country are from sophisticated hackers.
For years, computer security experts have warned that electronic voting is vulnerable to hacking that could alter vote tallies and theoretically swing an election. The intrusions that compromised the Democratic National Committee and the House Democrats’ fundraising campaigns’ systems — both of which cybersecurity experts have blamed on groups linked to Russian intelligence agencies — have only heightened those concerns.
Even a minor breach could wreak havoc by undermining the public’s faith in the integrity of the balloting, particularly in a campaign as contentious as this year’s presidential race.
“We cannot function without the leadership that is elected via the democratic process, and attacks on our election system could undermine all of the confidence that voters have in the legitimacy of our leadership,” said J. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan who has studied security in electronic and internet voting.