With the November midterms fast approaching, the integrity of U.S. elections is a topic on our national radar. Yes, it’s a hotly contested issue that spurs much debate along political lines. Nevertheless, we can all agree that technology isn’t hack-proof, and it serves our best interests to ensure that we take whatever measures are necessary to secure our data not just in the electoral process, but for the sake of businesses, financial institutions, and the American consumer.
The Heritage Foundation states that “The problem of voter fraud is as old as the country itself.” With that said, let’s take a look at our potential vulnerabilities.
Threats to Election Security
Falsified Ballots: This type of fraud can take many forms, from requesting absentee ballots and voting without knowledge of the voter to obtaining the absentee ballot from that voter, completing it and forging the signature or telling the voter illegally whom to vote for. Buying votes, intimidating voters to cast ballots for a particular candidate, ineligible voting, duplicate voting, false registrations, and ballot petition fraud are other common tactics.
Tampering with Election Machines: The Boston Globe reported in February that about 30 states allow some form of electronic voting, in large part of accommodate absentee voters who are temporarily based overseas. A small number of states prohibit full electronic voting. There’s been a lot of discussion since the 2016 election about getting back to the “old school” way of voting, via paper ballots. They might be more labor-intensive when it comes time for tabulation, but they’re certainly less risky than an electric system.
Election Hacking: “State and local election infrastructure are becoming a more popular target for hackers,” Government Technology magazine reported in June, citing a report by cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. The report also cast a warning for the November midterms: “Malicious actors and nation states likely already have an understanding of the flaws in the U.S. elections infrastructure and will seek to exploit opportunities where they can.” Among hackers’ possible tactics, FireEye says, could be ransomware and distributed denial-of-service attacks aimed at destabilizing state and local computer networks and mimic cybercrime activity. The organization’s report also references the risk faced by election machines; the United States uses 57 different types of those machines, which can be compromised through malware.
How to Maintain Free and Fair Elections
Keep Voter Data Secure
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has produced a thorough checklist for securing voter registration data, including such items as access control, auditability, intrusion detection, and monitoring, data backups, encryption, and firewalls.
Track Voting Assets
The government is tasked with being a careful steward of its resources and spending taxpayers’ money wisely. For those reasons, it’s vital that federal, state and local offices carefully maintain, monitor and manage their assets, including their voting assets. Proper tracking procedures also may help reduce the likelihood of theft, data breaches and other crimes that could jeopardize the integrity of our elections.
In 2015, Oklahoma Congressman Steve Russell published a report entitled “Waste Watch,” which identified ten specific instances of government waste and mismanagement. Collectively, those instances cost taxpayers more than $117 million. By monitoring their assets with a proven, reliable platform, our government officials can help protect taxpayers’ money.
An asset tracking platform enables government staff to schedule routine maintenance of voting equipment, therefore reducing the vulnerabilities associated with aging technology. Asset tracking also allows users to pinpoint the exact location and condition of items, examine their complete maintenance histories, track depreciation, establish custom security settings, issue reports, and so much more.
To learn how Asset Panda’s simple, powerful app can keep voting assets in good working order and help maintain the accuracy and integrity of our elections, visit assetpanda.com.