Washington: Online voting not coming soon, officials say

10 Dec 2019

Washington: Online voting not coming soon, officials say | Jacob Mulliken/Messenger-Inquirer

The discussion about a digitized polling system has election officials and experts throughout the nation stepping up to avoid a potentially crippling move for the American electoral system, said Secretary of State-elect Michael Adams. “I think concerns, especially surrounding hacking, are well-founded right now,” he said. “People want to confirm that their vote can’t be hacked and that the machine tallies the votes offline and that they are collected and processed, offline. The most secure elections are cast in person because there are checks and balances requiring some sort of identification and oversight. When you see fraud, and we have it, it most often happens outside of the purview of election officials. “An online method system out west may work where there is less history of election fraud, but not in places like Kentucky where fraud is still endemic. Internet voting in Kentucky is not anywhere near ready for primetime.” In 2000, the state of Washington participated in a nonbinding trial that allowed its citizens to cast their votes online or go to a polling place, said Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, and she walked away observing two almost insurmountable obstacles; tracking and perception, she said. “At a fundamental level, the internet was never built to be a secure avenue for data. Meaning, things can be easily lost. If there is a point with your ballot in a fully digitized system and say, your name is separated from the ballot, the ballot is corrupted and there are no checks to make it whole. With paper, there is a trail so that we can perform checks. The second revolves around perception. Where you are on the spectrum of trusting technology will bleed into your ability to trust the results.”