Why the Online Ballot Box is Still a No-Go

In the opinion of some US government officials and voters, the online ballot box seems to be the direction democracy is headed for. Slowly but surely, online voting has extended its reach in parts of the United States over the last ten years. Although voters are casting their votes at polling stations in November, more than 30 states have already integrated some form of online Voting such as via email or direct portal. This has been allowed in the cases of military personnel or absentee voters.. Utah and Alaska may be more than happy to allow online voting but there is still a long way to go before fully embracing this “modern” process.

online voting
Source: Emporia

Online voting faces several potential risks and dangers, which hackers are quick to point out. Hackers can enter the network servers and manipulate votes. Once they hack into the system, they can easily change results of the local and national elections and they are skilled enough, they would not even leave a trace of evidence.

Before the US transitions to an online voting system for all elections, the government must first ensure the security of the system. Estonia, which makes use of an online voting system, has gone to great lengths to use a truly secure system, which 25% of their registered voters have used. Does this mean Estonia proves that a secure Internet voting process is possible?

It sounds too good to be true but it still isn’t. A team of independent security experts accredited by the Estonian government has exposed the security vulnerabilities of their “I-voting system”. The team concluded that ballots cast online can still be stolen and manipulated. Estonia immediately discontinued their voting system.

Even if the setup of a new system is motivated by good intentions, the move will prove to be highly difficult until it becomes secure and ensures votes are accurately counted.