Amid Pandemic and Upheaval, New Cyber Risks to the Presidential Election

The experimenting is again, however as soon as once more it’s not going nicely. New Jersey is a working example.

In April, with the virus sweeping the state, officers moved shortly to broaden mail-in voting. But additionally they determined to discover on-line voting by hiring Democracy Live, whose OmniBallot system was recognized by Michigan and M.I.T. researchers as weak to undetected hacking.

New Jersey officers made the on-line voting accessible to county clerks for municipal and faculty board elections final month, however didn’t publicize it extensively for worry of inviting bother.

“We didn’t want to put out an explanation for potential bad guys to decide that this was something they wanted to exploit,” mentioned Alicia D’Alessandro, spokeswoman for New Jersey’s secretary of state.

The consequence: Just one voter used the on-line system. The value to the state: $89,000, and nonetheless no actual take a look at of whether or not it really works or not.

New Jersey won’t repeat the experiment for its July major, and has not but determined what it’ll do in November, officers mentioned. A lawsuit is trying to block additional on-line voting in the state, claiming it’s prone to hackers.

Delaware, additionally citing the pandemic, not too long ago introduced it might make on-line voting accessible to voters who have been sick or in quarantine. And West Virginia mentioned it might permit on-line voting by some residents with disabilities, navy personnel and abroad residents, because it has since 2018. And in emergency circumstances, Colorado will permit some voters to submit ballots electronically, it introduced final week.

Like New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia and Colorado have contracted with Democracy Live.

Mr. Halderman of Michigan and Michael A. Specter, a researcher at M.I.T., decided that Democracy Live’s on-line voting and ballot-marking techniques couldn’t stand up to concerted hacking makes an attempt, and additionally offered privateness considerations.

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