From the start of this year, according to government agencies, the 2020 U.S. presidential election was said to be one of the “safest” elections to be conducted to date. Compared to the 2016 U.S. elections, voting machines are almost risk-free; the systems leave no trace of the paper record’s history. Also, this time, the government has gone all-in to ensure election security from criminal actors. Chris Krebs, director of DHS (Department of Homeland Security) cybersecurity, in an election awareness video said he’s never been more sure of a safe election than this.
Security officials released the video last month, informing about election cybersecurity. However, the harsh reality is, the Russian cyberattacks during the 2016 elections have not entirely disappeared. To avoid the recurrence of that episode, experts suggested that the government spend billions of dollars building a robust cybersecurity system; however, Congress spent only a fraction of that. Meanwhile, social media companies dominate control over influence operations and propaganda on social media; the government seems to take no action. Cybersecurity experts insist the social media is still spreading fake news, and American users in some way have helped the spread of this fake news.
According to NPR, “experts agree that actual votes themselves would probably be the most difficult part of an election to hack successfully. The problem has only gotten tougher. In 2016, nearly 28 million voters cast ballots that did not have a corresponding paper trail: a major cybersecurity red flag.” Meanwhile, almost every American suspects that some foreign foe may impact the vote count; no evidence suggests that such a thing happened in the 2016 presidential elections. It includes the incident where Russian hackers breached into the registration databases.
“Stark says that the way officials can demonstrate through public auditing is a process that not every state uses. Even among the countries that do some audit, only a few do what is considered the “gold standard” of post-election audits, called risk-limiting audits. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has proposed legislation to mandate such audits nationwide, but election reforms have gained little to no traction with the Republican-controlled Senate,” says NPR.
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